During every national emergency situation, there are always scammers who look to capitalize on people during times of distress. Scammers have already begun to take advantage of the current state of emergency due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Similar to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, phishing scams have begun to plague our inboxes. Coronavirus phishing scams may come in the form of a statement or request from someone impersonating a Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or similar agency official. They may even use domain names similar to those of the CDC and WHO.
Multiple sources reported yesterday that hackers encrypted files on computers belonging to the city of Newark and have demanded $30,000 worth of Bitcoin to restore them.
Ransomware strikes. Your critical data files have been encrypted and your business grinds to a halt. Do you:
a) spend countless hours rebuilding from backups (if you were diligent enough to ensure they'll work) or
b) pay the perpetrator to unlock your files?
Now that ransomware is spreading like wildfire through malicious emails, "malvertising" campaigns, and exploit kits, many firms and individuals face this exact scenario.
Most companies today opt to distribute their employees’ W-2 tax forms electronically; either through email or some type of download service. Because these forms contain a good deal of Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”), such as name, address, social security number and salary information – cyber thieves are using several simple, yet, tried-and-true methods to fraudulently obtain them.
2016 was a big year for ransomware. It saw a massive increase in ransomware events and payouts to criminals, which, most experts say, only exacerbates the issue.
A 2015 report by the Herjavec Group (an Information Security company) noted that the total cost of ransomware reached $1 billion in 2016. With new “strains” of ransomware spreading worldwide (such as the Russian “spora”), we should all be on high alert for this business-impacting cyber threat.
In Part 1 of this post, I noted that ransomware events are occurring much more frequently; as many as 4,000 a day since January 1st of 2016. We took a look at some preventative measures that may protect your company and its network/data against a ransomware event.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated that “More than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. This is a 300 percent increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day seen in 2015.”
Essentially, no particular user, company or business sector is safe. Although the Healthcare and Retail industries are targeted for their volume and value of data, home computers may also fall victim to ransomware.
Cisco has released the 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report and their findings point to future, more sophisticated types of ransomware that will take full advantage of systems with less than satisfactory security measures, patching practices, and detection rates.