Your Daily Decrypt

8/23/2023 - Today’s news and insights for cybersecurity pros and leaders

📸 Cybersecurity Snapshot

📰 Top Stories 


What Happened: Ecuador's national election faced difficulties with online voting for citizens living abroad due to cyberattacks originating from seven countries.

Who Was Affected: About 120,000 Ecuadoreans living outside the country, many of whom were unable to cast their votes online.

Source of Attacks: Identified as coming from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, and China.

Impact: Hindered the fluidity of accessing online votes but did not violate cast votes.

Reactions: Frustration and anger among absentee voters, especially in Europe. The election agency will analyze legal actions.

Current Election Status: Left-wing candidate Luisa Gonzalez leads but will face a runoff in October.

Why it’s important to you

Stay Informed: Awareness of cyber threats to democracy and the vulnerability of online voting systems.

Understand Global Implications: The attacks came from multiple countries, showcasing a complex threat landscape.

Consider Security Measures: Reflect on the need for robust cybersecurity in electoral processes.

🚨 Threat Alerts


What's Happening: Vulnerabilities in the TP-Link Tapo L530E smart bulb and the Tapo app have been discovered by cybersecurity researchers, putting user WiFi credentials at risk.

Vulnerabilities Identified:

  • Improper Authentication: High-severity flaw allowing attackers to impersonate the device and compromise user passwords.

  • Hard-coded Weakness: High-severity flaw enabling brute-forcing techniques or app decompiling.

  • Predictable Encryption: Medium-severity flaw due to a lack of randomness in encryption.

  • Replay Attacks: Allows attackers to replicate previously intercepted messages to manipulate device functions.

Potential Risks:

  • Theft of WiFi passwords and unauthorized access to user networks.

  • Interception and manipulation of communications between the Tapo app and the bulb.

TP-Link's Response: Acknowledged the vulnerabilities and is working on fixes. Users are advised to update firmware, use strong passwords, and follow additional safety guidelines.

Broader Context: Highlights security concerns in the expansive world of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which often lack robust authentication safeguards and secure data transmission practices.

Why it’s important to you

Stay Alert: If you use smart bulbs or other IoT devices, be aware of potential security vulnerabilities.

Protect Your Network: Consider isolating smart devices from critical networks and employing strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.

Keep Up to Date: Regularly update firmware and app versions to mitigate known vulnerabilities.


What's Happening: Ivanti has released a security patch to fix a critical zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2023-38035) in its Sentry Gateway technology.

Vulnerability Details:

  • Severity Rating: 9.8 out of 10, considered critical.

  • Affected Versions: All supported Sentry versions (9.18, 9.17, and 9.16), including older non-supported versions.

  • What It Does: Allows attackers to bypass authentication controls, change the gateway's configuration, execute system commands, and write arbitrary files on the system.

  • Potential Exploits: Unconfirmed reports claim that attackers are already exploiting the flaw.


  • Organizations are advised to apply the patch immediately.

  • Restrict access to the administrator portal to internal management networks and not to the Internet, especially port 8443.

Background: Ivanti Sentry is used by organizations to manage, encrypt, and protect traffic between mobile devices and backend systems, making it an attractive target for attackers.

Why it’s important to you

Stay Protected: If you're using Ivanti Sentry Gateway, it's crucial to apply the security patch to prevent potential exploits.

Understand the Risk: Be aware of the critical nature of this vulnerability and the need to restrict access to specific ports.

Maintain Security Posture: Keep up with security updates and patches, especially for technologies that manage sensitive enterprise applications and devices.

⚖️ Regulatory Updates


What's Happening: Financial services companies must be aware of the new state privacy laws that are not uniform across the U.S. There are privacy laws in 12 states, with varying effective dates and applicability.

Rolling Effective Dates:

  • Active: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia.

  • Upcoming: Utah (2023), Florida, Oregon, Texas (2024), Montana (2024), Delaware, Iowa (2025), Tennessee (2025), Indiana (2026).


  • Varies by State: Depending on gross annual revenue, the number of individuals' information processed, and other criteria.

  • Exemptions: Most laws exempt entities regulated by GLBA, except California and Oregon, with specific variations.

Compliance Notes:

  • Notice: Specific content required in privacy policies.

  • Choice: Obligations to provide individuals with rights, including access, correction, and deletion.

  • Vendors: Contracts with entities processing personal information must contain certain provisions.

  • Sensitive Information: Varied requirements regarding consent and opt-outs for collecting and processing.

  • Profiling and Targeting: Obligations for automatic processing and opt-out requirements for targeted advertising.

Why it’s important to you

Stay Compliant: If you're a financial services entity, understanding these state-specific laws is vital to ensure compliance.

Understand Exceptions: Familiarize yourself with the exemptions to know whether your organization may be exempt under GLBA or other regulations.

Prepare for Changes: Keep track of the rolling effective dates and be prepared to align with new laws as they come into effect.

Align Vendor Contracts: Ensure your vendor contracts are in compliance with the state laws where you operate.

Embrace Consumer Rights: Understand the rights that individuals have under these laws, such as access, correction, and deletion, and ensure that your organization can comply.

👀 Curated Finds


Trend Analysis: Class actions over health data breaches are at their highest rate in years, nearly double the rate from 2022, with no sign of slowing down.

Who's Affected: Companies handling health data, facing more cyberattacks each year, resulting in costly litigation.

Why It's Happening: Increase in health cyber incidents, proliferation of ransomware attacks, public notification rules, and growing consumer awareness of privacy issues.

Largest Increase: Health industry saw the largest increase in average ransom paid last year, more than $1.5 million.

Legal Landscape: Lack of clear guidance from courts on threshold issues related to data-breach lawsuits, enabling more litigation.

Consumer Awareness: High concentration of actions in California, where privacy law came into effect in 2020, and increased awareness of privacy rights.

Impact: More than 41 million people have had their health data exposed through Aug. 18 this year; the industry remains susceptible to cyberattacks.

Why it’s important to you

Stay Informed: Understand the rising trend of health data breaches and related litigations, especially if involved in healthcare or legal sectors.

Consider Legal Risks: Awareness of the legal landscape and potential risks or opportunities in litigation.

Protect Privacy: Recognize the value and sensitivity of health data and the need for robust cybersecurity measures.

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Thank you 🙏
Ali Abidi