the media: Ameren Missouri Equipment Supplier Targeted In Ransomware Attack<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Ameren%20Ransomware%2020%20Joe%20Scherrer.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​Ransomware attackers have stolen data from a third-party vendor that supplies utility equipment to Ameren Missouri power plants.</p><p>Dozens of data files from Ohio-based LTI Power Systems appeared on a ransomware server in late February, including equipment diagrams and schematics from two Ameren Missouri facilities. No customer information appears to have been involved in the data breach.<br/></p><p>St. Louis Public Radio obtained copies of the data files, which span from 1996 to 2017, and involve the Ameren Sioux Power Plant in West Alton and the Labadie Power Plant.</p><p>The files include detailed schematics of uninterruptible power supply equipment, used to provide temporary backup power during outages. </p><p>Joe Scherrer, director of the Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative at Washington University, said this type of intellectual property can be a valuable commodity in the cybercriminal marketplace.</p><p>“This particular incident is, in my view, all about the theft of intellectual property and making it available for sale to nation-states or other companies,” Scherrer said.</p><p>This type of data breach has become increasingly common across a wide range of sectors.</p><p>According to the cybersecurity company Emsisoft, ransomware attackers <a href="" target="_blank">targeted</a> 966 government agencies, schools and health care providers in 2019, at an estimated cost of $7.5 billion.</p><p>Many companies have strengthened their cybersecurity in recent years and trained employees to recognize phishing scams — one of the most common ways ransomware attacks gain access to internal systems. </p><p>Still, ensuring the security of third-party vendors remains a challenge, said Scherrer, particularly as attacks become more sophisticated.</p><p>“The attack techniques evolve literally on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “They’re approaching this as a business, as a revenue generator, so they’re going to adapt their techniques and procedures to maximize their returns.”</p><p>A spokesperson for Ameren Missouri said the company was investigating the data breach but added that it has “no reason to believe that the information obtained is confidential or critical to our operations.”</p><p>“In some cases, standard schematics or drawings are shared with equipment suppliers to support the procurement of certain assets,” the spokesperson said in an email. “But these do not contain classified or confidential information.”<br/></p>The Labadie Energy Center was one of two Ameren Missouri power plants involved in the data breach. File Photo | Veronique Lacapra | St. Louis Public RadipoShahla Farzan, St. Louis Public Radio | NPR“The attack techniques evolve literally on a day-to-day basis.” students win at 2nd annual precast competition<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/prentiss-precast-win-2020.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>Two McKelvey School of Engineering master’s students won prizes at the second annual Project Precast Design Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.</p>Courtney Prentiss was a member of the team that took first-place, and Patrick Murray was a member of the team that got an honorable mention. Both students are studying construction management in McKelvey Engineering and architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.<div><br/></div><div>“I was shocked and elated when my team won the competition,” Prentiss said. “We definitely worked very hard for it, but so did the other teams. I was impressed with everyone's presentations, especially considering the short time frame.”</div><div><br/></div><div>“My team won an honorable mention for sustainability,” Murray said. “I was incredibly proud of my team's efforts in putting together an extraordinary project in just over 24 hours.”</div><div><br/>The teams were challenged to design a football stadium for a fictional high school located in Texas The project requires competitors to consider aspects of architecture, construction management, and civil and structural engineering.</div><div><br/>The event was hosted during the annual Convention and Precast Show hosted by the PCI Foundation, an educational entity that supports the precast concrete industry.</div><div><br/>Only 15 students throughout the nation were invited to take part in this year’s competition. WashU sent three students: Prentiss, Murray and Hanui Yu, a master’s student studying architecture.</div><div><br/>"This was the first opportunity for me to work as a construction manager outside of class, and I gained a lot more confidence in my abilities as a manager thanks to it,” Prentiss said. “The competition was a great learning experience for producing a well-thought-out project while under high stress and moving past disagreements to remain productive as a team.”<br/></div>Courtney Prentiss, a master's student studying construction management and architecture, was a member of the winning team at the second annual Project Precast Design Competition. Submitted photoDanielle Lacey2020-03-17T05:00:00ZSever students Courtney Prentiss and Patrick Murray won awards at the second annual Project Precast Design Competition, hosted by the PCI Foundation. Expert: ‘Every application has its vulnerabilities’<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Joe%20Scherer%20Bezos%20Cyber.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>You don’t have to be one of the wealthiest people in the world, or own one of the largest newspapers in the country, to be the target of a cyberattack.</p><p>But it certainly doesn’t hurt your chances.</p><p>The United Nations in a<a href=""> news release</a> Jan. 22 said it had information suggesting that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia used the WhatsApp messaging app (owned by Facebook) to deploy spyware uploading large amounts of cellphone data from Jeff Bezos, who is Amazon’s CEO, owner of The Washington Post and one of the richest people in the world.</p><p>The attack on Bezos, allegedly using a video to deploy the malware, is not that unusual for leaders in industry or government, according to <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Joe-Scherrer.aspx">Joseph Scherrer</a>, director of the Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.</p><p>“Their wealth and influence makes them juicy targets,” he said, and mobile malware attacks, like the one perpetrated against Bezos, are only becoming more common.</p><p>Scherrer retired from the U.S. Air Force after a distinguished 24-year career that culminated as the commander of the Air Force’s only combat coded deployable communications wing.</p><p>“Research conducted by the cybersecurity firm Check Point found that mobile device attacks rose 50 percent in 2019 compared to the same time period in 2018,” said Scherrer, who is also the executive director of professional education at the McKelvey School of Engineering and program director of graduate studies in information systems management and cybersecurity management. “This trend is projected to continue into 2020.”</p><p>The U.N. suggests Bezos wasn’t targeted for money, but instead in an effort to “influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.” In general, illicit financial gain is the main reason for cyberattacks on mobile devices.</p><p>“Cybercriminals seek your login credentials for online banking apps and payment services such as Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay. They then use these credentials to gain access to your accounts and steal your money,” Scherrer said. “With nearly 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, that amounts to a lot of opportunity for cybercriminals.”</p><p>The apps on our phones are convenient and help us in our daily lives. However, “every application has its vulnerabilities,” Scherrer said. “Even if an app is patched or updated regularly, that still doesn’t mean that it’s secure. Both ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ hackers find vulnerabilities all the time. The problem is that black hat hackers use that knowledge for malevolent purposes.”</p><p>Scherrer suggests making your smartphone a hard target because, he said, “cybercriminals like to take the easy way in.”</p><p>He offers this advice:</p><ul type="disc" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1.5em; padding-left: 1.5em; list-style-position: initial; list-style-image: initial;"><li><p>Lock your device behind a strong passcode or using a biometric signature (fingerprint).</p></li><li><p>To add even more security to your locked device, use a second method of authentication, such as a Yubikey, for smartphones. These devices generate one-time passwords that make it extremely difficult for a potential hacker to bypass to gain access to your phone.</p></li><li><p>Don’t use the same password for multiple applications and accounts. Ideally, each password should be unique.</p></li><li><p>Encrypt the data on your phone. All major smartphone operating systems have this capability now.</p></li><li><p>Secure the WiFi connection on your phone using a virtual private network from your cellular provider.</p></li><li><p>Regularly back up your data to the cloud so that if your phone is compromised, you don’t lose your data. There are many mobile backup applications for Apple and Android that use the cloud to house your data in a safe and secure manner.</p></li><li><p>Finally, don’t open suspicious links or files that seem strange or from unusual sources.<br/></p></li></ul><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Joe Scherrer<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/151013_joseph_scherrer_01.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="Joe Scherrer" style="margin: 5px;"/> <br/></div><div><ul><li>Executive Director, Henry Edwin Sever Institute<br/></li><li>Director, Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative</li><li>Co-authored and led the team that developed the nation's first National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations<br/></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Joe-Scherrer.aspx">View Bio</a><br/></p></div></div>In the wake of the news that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked, Joseph Scherrer, director of the Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative, says you should make your smartphone a hard target because “cybercriminals like to take the easy way in.”Brandie Jefferson may have ignored the simplest advice: Don’t open suspicious links or files<p>​Bezos may have ignored the simplest advice: Don’t open suspicious links or files<br/></p> McKelvey Engineering stories of 2019<img alt="top 10 news" src="/news/PublishingImages/top%2010%20stories%202019.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div class="newsauthor"><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/131101_sjh_jim_mckelvey_53.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px; width: 120px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-era-in-engineering-to-begin-at-Washington-University.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">1. New era in engineering to begin at Washington University</a><br/></h3></div><div><div data-queryruleid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"><div data-displaytemplate="WebPageItem"><div>The School of Engineering & Applied Science was renamed the James McKelvey School of Engineering in honor of trustee and distinguished alumnus Jim McKelvey Jr., who made an unprecedented and transformative investment in the school.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/jaa_east_end_0082-760x507.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/East-End-Transformation-dedicated.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">2. East End Transformation dedicated</a><br/></h3></div><div><div data-queryruleid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"><div data-displaytemplate="WebPageItem"><div><div class="newsauthor">New campus area focuses on innovative, sustainable design and future reuse.<br/></div></div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Biswas_lab_4550.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Biswas-elected-to-National-Academy-of-Engineering.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">3. Biswas elected to National Academy of Engineering</a> <br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Selected for research in aerosol dynamics, particle removal technologies, Pratim Biswas, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, considered one of the highest honors in the field of engineering.<br/><br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><br/></div><div class="newsauthor"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"><img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Rudy_Yoram.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/></h3><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"><a href="/news/Pages/rudy-named-to-national-academy-of-inventors.aspx">3. Rudy named to National Academy of Inventors</a><br/></h3> Yoram Rudy, along with a faculty member from the School of Medicine, were named to the National Academy of Inventors.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"></h3><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/silent%20send%20noise.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/When-WiFi-is-weak-send-noise-instead.aspx">4. When WiFi is weak, send noise instead</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Recognizing wireless noise can be key to sending information, researchers find.<br/><br/></div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Jun_Young-Shin.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Using-bacteria-to-create-a-water-filter-that-kills-bacteria.aspx">5. Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Srikanth Singamaneni and Young-Shin Jun's research on a new water-filtering membrane was the cover story of the Jan. 2, 2019 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.<br/></div></div> <br/> </div></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/rendered.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Multi-institutional-team-to-study-effects-of-age,-gender-on-brain-injury-mechanics.aspx">6. Multi-institutional team to study effects of age, gender on brain injury mechanics</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Study's breadth encompasses often-overlooked group: domestic abuse victims.<br/></div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Flame.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px; width: 120px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Flame-design-in-space-may-lead-to-soot-free-fire.aspx">7. Flame design in space may lead to soot-free fire</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">The International Space Station will provide a lab for an experiment that hopes to settle fundamental question about soot and combustion.<br/></div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Tumor_Growth_3D_CancerResearch_2017.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Imaging-technology-could-better-monitor-tumor-growth-drug-effectiveness.aspx">8. Imaging technology could better monitor tumor growth, drug effectiveness</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Using a novel imaging technology, Chao Zhou plans to improve on an existing imaging method that will give researchers more insight into the effects of drug candidates on tumor models.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/new%20faculty%202019.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-faculty-join-McKelvey-School-of-Engineering.aspx">9. New faculty join McKelvey School of Engineering</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Ten new faculty joined the McKelvey School of Engineering, bringing the total number of full-time faculty to more than 140, including 98 tenured and tenure-track faculty. <br/> <br/> <br/> <br/> <h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/noise.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-fundamental-limit-to-seeing-and-believing-in-imaging.aspx">10. New, fundamental limit to ‘seeing and believing’ in imaging</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">As researchers probe smaller parts of our world, the resulting images may not always show the full picture.<br/></div> <br/> <br/> <br/> </div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="cstm-section"><h4 class="ms-rteElement-H4B" style="text-align: center;">#mckelveyengineering<br/> top social media<br/> posts of the year</h4> <span><hr/></span> <div><p> <strong>facebook:</strong><strong> </strong><a href="">Happy Women in Construction Week!</a><br/></p><p> <strong>twitter:</strong><strong> </strong><a href="">Summer Engineering Fellowship program inspired a love of research in Andrew Whitaker, junior in BME.</a><br/></p><p> <strong>instagram: </strong><a href="">WashU Racing unveils their new ride! 🏁</a><br/></p></div></div><div class="cstm-widget expand"><h3 class="icon-link"> <a href="#">2020 Research Calendar</a></h3><div><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/our-school/leadership/offices/marketing-communications/Documents/Engineering%20calendar%202020.pdf"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Calendar-2020.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px; width: 135px;"/></a> <br/> <a href="/our-school/leadership/offices/marketing-communications/Documents/Engineering%20calendar%202020.pdf">Download PDF</a><br/></p></div></div><div class="cstm-widget expand"><h3 class="icon-link"> <a href="#">Desktop Calendar Images</a></h3><div><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href=""> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/March%202020.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px; width: 116px;"/></a> <br/> <a href="">Download</a><br/></p></div></div>2019-12-10T06:00:00ZMcKelvey engineers continued their strong research tradition in 2019. These are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2019.<p>McKelvey<span style="font-size: 20px;"> engineers continued their strong research tradition in 2019. Here are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2019:</span><br/></p> the media: Vulnerable to a hack: The daily risk we take to be connected in a digital world<img alt="" src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/151013_joseph_scherrer_01.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​<strong>ST. LOUIS (KMOX) —</strong><span style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: "open sans", helvetica, sans-serif;"> We're a long way from the days of dial-up internet connections. We have an almost endless choice of devices — devices that can connect us instantly to the world. However, the innovation enhancing our lives can also be an achilles heel ... vulnerable to a hack.</span></p><p>What can be hacked? The simple answer — anything and everything. </p><p>We've reached an age where business and government rely on technology and computer networks. And consumer access to internet connected devices is exploding. </p><p>First, it's important to understand the real level of threat. It's basically off the charts.</p><p>"The consequences for modern society are potentially catastrophic," said <a href="">Joe Scherrer</a>, the Executive Director of Professional Education in the <a href="">McKelvey School of Engineering</a> and the Director of the Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative at Washington University in St. Louis. </p><p>Scherrer spent more than two decades in the U.S. Air Force. While serving at the Pentagon he was architect of the first national military strategy for cyberspace.</p><p>"We have cyber criminals all across the globe that it's a 9 to 5 job, and they're buying and selling access, and they're exploiting vulnerabilities that really boils down to our inability — the humans' inability — to do what needs to be done to make ourselves a harder target"</p><p>Experts say we let hackers get a foot in the door ... without much effort on their part.</p><p>At the recent <a href="">Gateway to Innovation Conference</a> in downtown St. Louis, I spoke with IT professionals between sessions. I asked about their biggest security worries. People falling prey to phishing emails topped the list.</p><p>These tactics are called "social engineering." Using simple psychological manipulation, cybercriminals get people to cough up confidential information or trick them into opening a file or clicking links containing malware.</p><p>Every year Verizon releases a <a href="">Data Breach Investigation Report</a>. Email is once again a top concern.</p><p>Verizon's investigation revealed attacks against company executives spiked in the past year. Top executives especially ... they're 12 times more likely to be the victim of an email attack.  <br/></p><p> <span style="caret-color: #555555; color: #555555; font-size: 21px;"></span> <span style="caret-color: #555555; color: #555555; font-size: 21px;"> <span style="caret-color: #555555; color: #555555; font-size: 18px;"> </span><a href="" style="font-size: 21px;">>> Read the full article on KMOX</a></span><br/></p><p> <br/> </p>Megan Lynch, KMOX"We are 100% vulnerable.""We are 100% vulnerable." <a href="">>> Read the full article on KMOX</a><br/> tells Engineering graduates it is uncomfortable to create change<p>If you didn't get a chance to watch the McKelvey Engineering Recognition Ceremony in person, here is the full ceremony with Jim McKelvey Jr. and Chancellor Mark Wrighton's last speech.<br/></p> <br/> <div class="youtube-wrap"><div class="iframe-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src=""></iframe><br/><br/><br/><br/></div></div><img alt="Jim McKelvey Jr. " src="/news/PublishingImages/190516_mckelvey_graduation_169.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>At the 2019 McKelvey School of Engineering Recognition Ceremony, Jim McKelvey Jr. gave nearly 1,000 graduating McKelvey Engineering students the universal formula for success in any industry: Copy what everybody else does. <br/></p><p>McKelvey, a 1987 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, told surprised students that we learn to do everything in life by copying someone else: walking, talking and studying. <br/></p><p>"We copy copiously, we copy instinctively," said McKelvey, the first Recognition Ceremony speaker for the school newly named after him. "Copying is so wired into our brains and our institutions that as soon as we stop copying, we feel uncomfortable." <br/></p><p>But the problem with copying, he said, is that nothing changes. <br/></p><p>"Someday you may encounter a problem that nobody has solved," he said. "And if you dare to try to solve that problem, you're not going to be able to copy, and that's going to feel very strange. You will feel alone and uncertain. You will have no guarantee that your solution will work. Every cell in your body and decades of social conditioning are going to tell you to get back to the herd. And at that point, my hope is that your engineering education will serve you." <br/></p><p>McKelvey said when something is truly new, we are all novices. <br/></p><p>"And we are all alone and are probably scared," he said. "And some of us do it anyway. This is how the world advances. If we have prepared some of you to be unprepared, then we have done our job." <br/></p><p>A successful serial entrepreneur, McKelvey Jr. is co-founder of Square, a revolutionary financial services and mobile payment company credited with empowering businesses of all sizes around the globe. In addition, he is an independent director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve but is better known for his involvement in several St. Louis-based startups, including co-founder of Six Thirty, founder of LaunchCode, co-founder of Third Degree Glass Factory, founder of Mira Publishing (as a Washington University student). He also is the author of "The Art of Fire: Beginning Glassblowing," a textbook for novice glassblowers. He recently started Invisibly, which works with online publishers and advertisers to improve their advertising technology and thus create a revenue stream. <br/></p><p>McKelvey Jr. is the son of James M. McKelvey Sr., who was the seventh dean of the university's engineering school from 1964-1991.</p><p> </p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p> </p><p><br/></p>Jim McKelvey Jr. Beth Miller 2019-05-29T05:00:00ZJim McKelvey Jr. spoke to McKelvey Engineering graduates and their families at the May 16 Recognition Ceremony.