Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory research nuclear and particle physics. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists research the safety and security of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Argonne National Laboratory scientists research multidisciplinary engineering.
The committees requested documents and communications from July 1, 2022, to the present.
LLNL referred FedTech to the National Nuclear Security Administration. An NNSA spokesperson says DOE has the processes in place to monitor, detect and mitigate cyberthreats and the IT and cybersecurity expertise to protect its systems.
“At this time, there is no evidence that NNSA networks or information systems were impacted by this event,” the spokesperson says. “NNSA currently maintains operations at an information operations condition level yellow, which allows for a proactive posture to identify, respond to and mitigate cyberthreats.”
The INFOCON level is yellow due to “elevated threat activity worldwide” and not “specific cyberattacks against NNSA,” the spokesperson said.
Cold River targeted U.S. allies in the past on behalf of the Russian government. In a March 2022 fact sheet, the White House warned public sector companies this threat might increase following the imposition of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The Importance of a Cyber Strategy and Training
A 2022 Proofpoint report notes that 26 percent of U.S. workers surveyed clicked an email link leading to a suspicious website. For this reason, agencies need a cyber strategy in place for protecting sensitive information. The White House recommends:
- Mandating multifactor authentication across systems
- Deploying modern security tools on network assets
- Patching systems
- Backing up data
- Training employees on common attacks
Training takes a variety of forms, such as benchmarking individual or team cyber skills against the industry, then investing in a course package that fills identified gaps. It can also include classes on specific security tools, or on the customization of a workforce development program with multiple learning tracks.
External security maturity assessments frequently find poor cyber hygiene to be a problem within agencies, increasing the need for training on the fundamentals of vulnerability management and administrator access.
“A business may furnish a laptop to an employee without restricting privileges, and then the employee’s child will download malware-infected games onto the device,” writes Jeremy Wilder, security enterprise architect at CDW, in a blog. “These are simple problems, but we see them over and over in our practice.”