Cha-Cha Slide to Cybersecurity Catastrophe: SolarWinds’ Samba with the SEC

Don’t be fooled by the cha-cha slide, folks! The SEC is calling out SolarWinds and its CISO, Timothy Brown, for their cybersecurity two-step. They’re accused of SolarWinds Security Fraud, downplaying known risks while overplaying their protection prowess. It’s like bragging about your soufflé skills but burning toast. A classic case of all sizzle, no steak.

Hot Take:

When it comes to cybersecurity, it seems like SolarWinds was doing more of a cha-cha slide than a firewall waltz. The American SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has accused SolarWinds and one of its bigwigs of fraud in the wake of the notorious cyberattack that hit the company in late 2020. It’s like the digital version of saying your house is burglar-proof while leaving the front door wide open.

Key Points:

  • The SEC has accused SolarWinds and its CISO, Timothy Brown, of fraud and internal control deficiencies related to alleged known cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.
  • The accusations come in the aftermath of a major cyberattack on SolarWinds’ network management software, Orion, which was compromised in 2020.
  • Several US government departments and multinational corporations were affected, causing substantial economic losses and political damage.
  • The US blamed Russia for the attack, pointing fingers at the Cozy Bear (APT29) collective, linked to Russian intelligence.
  • SEC’s decision sends a clear message to industry operators: implement robust controls suitable for your risk environments and communicate known concerns to investors.

Need to know more?

Blowing in the SolarWinds

The attack, aptly named after the company, SolarWinds, saw hackers compromise its network management software, Orion, through a backdoor. It was like a digital Trojan horse, only instead of Greek soldiers, it was code. The attack affected several US government departments and multinational corporations, causing economic losses and political damage that took months to identify and quantify.

Pointing Fingers at the Bear

Less than six months post-attack, the US was pointing fingers faster than a primary school tattletale, blaming Russia and the Cozy Bear, a collective linked to Russian intelligence. But while they were busy playing the blame game, questions were rising over who should've prevented the attack in the first place.

Don't Brown-nose the SEC

Fast forward to three years post-attack, and the SEC is accusing SolarWinds and its CISO, Timothy Brown, of fraud and internal control deficiencies related to alleged known cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities. Apparently, SolarWinds and Brown were overvaluing their cybersecurity practices and downplaying known risks. It's like saying you're an expert chef when you can't even make toast without burning it.

A Security Shift

The SEC's decision represents a shift in the direct responsibility of the CISO on the cyber security levels of their organization. It's not the first time the SEC has flexed its muscles in the realm of cybersecurity. They've previously mandated the need for companies to detail the supervision of cyber risk by the board of directors and disclose significant cyber incidents within four days. The idea was to have a CISO on the board of every listed company, but that might have been a leap too far. Instead, they're pushing for boards to consider cybersecurity as one of the most significant horizontal risks, impacting business, reputation, operations, and compliance obligations.