Next steps in the fight against ransomware attacks

The ransomware attack that forced the largest pipeline on the East Coast to shut down for several days was just the latest in a string of vicious ransomware attacks.Our national investigative unit has a look at the next cyber attack already underway — and who’s the biggest risk.Lior Div’s Boston-based company, Cybereason, warned last month about Darkside, the group who made and sold the ransomware hackers used to take down the Colonial Pipeline.Now, Cybereason sees another ruse: posing as a company’s help desk in a fake work email — and virtually no company, Div says, is immune.”We don’t believe that they are just focusing on a single specific company,” Div said.”It’s gone from a nuisance to a public safety threat today,” said Michael Daniel, CEO of Cyber Threat Alliance.It’s a key topic at this week’s RSA Conference, one of the largest annual cyber gatherings in the world. The conference revealed hackers getting greedier.In just one year, ransomware demands doubled — from $15 million dollars on average to $30 million, analytics firm Unit 42 found. Actual ransom payments nearly tripled — from an average $115,000 to $312,000.Government leaders see the threat growing.”We have to collaborate,” Alaina Clark, with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said at the conference. “We have to work better together.” “Ransomware is lucrative, right? But we keep paying, so they keep attacking,” explained New York Cyber Command’s Quiessence Phillips.And that attack, we’ve learned, relies on a key weakness. Masha Sedova, co-founder of Elevate Security, a cyber consulting firm, contributed to a study released this month that found 8% of all cyber breaches are due to employee errors.The solution? Sedova says companies should work with the riskiest employees who click on suspicious links or are sloppy with passwords — and urge them to fess up quickly if they make a mistake.”It is embarrassing to say that you might have clicked a link,” Sedova said. “It is more embarrassing to be the reason that your company ends up on the front page of a newspaper. The human element has been proven to be truly the weakest link.”In a joint release about the pipeline ransomware attack, the chairs of two key House committees said: “This attack not only highlights glaring vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure, it also exposes a marketplace in which it may be easier for a company to pay off a criminal than put resources towards preventing and defending against attacks.”Our ransomware reporting doesn’t end here. Click here to watch our 2019 report “Cyber Watch.”

The ransomware attack that forced the largest pipeline on the East Coast to shut down for several days was just the latest in a string of vicious ransomware attacks.

Our national investigative unit has a look at the next cyber attack already underway — and who’s the biggest risk.

Advertisement

Lior Div’s Boston-based company, Cybereason, warned last month about Darkside, the group who made and sold the ransomware hackers used to take down the Colonial Pipeline.

Now, Cybereason sees another ruse: posing as a company’s help desk in a fake work email — and virtually no company, Div says, is immune.

“We don’t believe that they are just focusing on a single specific company,” Div said.

“It’s gone from a nuisance to a public safety threat today,” said Michael Daniel, CEO of Cyber Threat Alliance.

It’s a key topic at this week’s RSA Conference, one of the largest annual cyber gatherings in the world. The conference revealed hackers getting greedier.

In just one year, ransomware demands doubled — from $15 million dollars on average to $30 million, analytics firm Unit 42 found. Actual ransom payments nearly tripled — from an average $115,000 to $312,000.

Government leaders see the threat growing.

“We have to collaborate,” Alaina Clark, with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said at the conference. “We have to work better together.”

“Ransomware is lucrative, right? But we keep paying, so they keep attacking,” explained New York Cyber Command’s Quiessence Phillips.

And that attack, we’ve learned, relies on a key weakness. Masha Sedova, co-founder of Elevate Security, a cyber consulting firm, contributed to a study released this month that found 8% of all cyber breaches are due to employee errors.

The solution? Sedova says companies should work with the riskiest employees who click on suspicious links or are sloppy with passwords — and urge them to fess up quickly if they make a mistake.

“It is embarrassing to say that you might have clicked a link,” Sedova said. “It is more embarrassing to be the reason that your company ends up on the front page of a newspaper. The human element has been proven to be truly the weakest link.”

In a joint release about the pipeline ransomware attack, the chairs of two key House committees said: “This attack not only highlights glaring vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure, it also exposes a marketplace in which it may be easier for a company to pay off a criminal than put resources towards preventing and defending against attacks.”

Our ransomware reporting doesn’t end here. Click here to watch our 2019 report “Cyber Watch.”

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Charges filed for unemployment fraud in Monterey County

SALINAS — More than two dozen people are being charged with committing pandemic-related fraud, the Monterey County District Attorney announced Wednesday. The indictments were handed down by the Monterey County Criminal Grand Jury April 30 after they were presented with five days of evidence, District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said. Pacioni […]