Recent months have shown a significant rise in the number of Ransomware attacks on various verticals, as highlighted by the Homeland Threat Assessment October 2020 Report, Temple University Ransomware watch list, Microsoft’s September report, and others. An indicator for that can also be found in the rise of Bitcoin’s exchange rate which is used for Ransomware payoffs.
A recent and unfortunate incident was when a woman died in Duesseldorf University Hospital during a ransomware attack. She might have been the first victim linked to a cyberattack on a hospital, and hopefully the last one… Additionally, a Philadelphia company selling software used in hundreds of clinical trials, including the crash effort to develop tests, treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, was hit by a ransomware attack, which caused some of those trials to slow down two weeks after the attack. Many of these attacks could have been easily carried out by an infected device…
It seems as if no one is immune!
Why? There are the obvious reasons related to financial downtime and uncertainty, which always leads to an increase in criminal activity.
“Legacy crime” activities are harder to complete – ever tried pickpocketing while social distancing? So, if you are a criminal sitting at home, you can either binge-watch the Netflix series, “House of Paper”, or make the effort to understand what’s this Ransomware “stuff” that everyone is talking about and hey, you have Rita’s cousin who is a computer geek, so why not use him? All the information is out there, you can run an easy Ransomware attack by just asking someone to put a manipulated mouse or keyboard on someone’s desk, no Navy Seals training is required for that, Rita’s cousin will suffice.
The professional Cybercrime and state sponsored groups find these times a fertile ground for their operations –by using all the much discussed COVID-19 #WFH vulnerabilities effect. Organizations need to be more aware of physical layer security, since these work from home policies present an even greater risk of hardware attacks.
Attackers will always be smart! They are pragmatic and fast to adapt to Cybersecurity challenges. If in the past, companies that had a good backup plan could bounce back without even paying off, this is no longer the case – as now the new “currency” is data leakage, and bouncing back from a major data breach comes with a completely different price tag.
Do you want an example of how easy it is? John is fed up with his boss and thinks about leaving the company. In theory, he could take a certain database snapshot of customers or IP and send it anonymously to his company as “Proof of Authenticity”, threatening to release a massive amount of data…. How could you tell if it is an internal abuser or APTx? Does it really matter?
Do share your insights and comments.
Keep safe, physical and virtual.