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February 2020, Vol. 21, No. 1

Threat intelligence offers promise, but limitations remain

In August, coordinated ransomware attacks hit municipalities and local government agencies hard in Texas. For example, the town of Borger, Texas, lost access to its vital statistics and utility-payment systems. Another town, Kaufman, couldn't use phones, access its systems or accept payments from its residents. Daniel Basile While better security could have helped each individual town detect an attack and, perhaps, avoid an infection, protecting the more than 1,200 towns and cities in Texas requires the ability to turn attacks seen by one municipality into threat intelligence that can protect every other town as well. The attackers' infiltration of systems in town offices, police departments and other organizations could have been detected, said Daniel Basile, CISO for the Rellis Campus of the Texas A&M University System, if information on the exploitation techniques and the indicators of compromise (IOC) had been collected from initial victims and shared. "The big benefit here is when organizations are willing to share ...

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