This week's news needs a trigger warning. A new scam is leading to teenage suicide. Please share to spread awareness.
In a vicious case of Sextortion, scammers, posing as a young girl, sent Ryan a nude photo and then asked Ryan to share an explicit image of himself in return. Immediately after Ryan shared an intimate photo of his own, the cybercriminal demanded US$5,000, threatening to make the photo public and send it to Ryan's family and friends. This escalated into continuous requests from the scammers until it drove Ryan over the edge. Law enforcement calls the scam "sextortion," and investigators have seen an explosion in complaints from victims leading the FBI to ramp up a campaign to warn parents from coast to coast. The bureau says there were over 18,000 sextortion-related complaints in 2021, with losses in excess of $13 million. (CTV News)
My Thoughts: This is a very sad and frustrating story. Why? Because these stories can be avoided with simple education and awareness both by parents and the education system. It is unacceptable how we argue about what should and shouldn’t be taught in our schools by politicians when simple online safety is left behind! If you are a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather sister brother, aunt, uncle friend, please spend 5 minutes of your time to bring attention to those adolescents and teenagers and frankly anyone who spends time online in whatever facet.
“According to Kaspersky’s How business executives perceive ransomware threat report, 88% of organizations that have previously experienced a ransomware attack would choose to pay a ransom if faced with another attack.” The article goes on to say that executives see ransomware payments as a reliable way to address the issue.
“The report showed that an organization is also more inclined to pay as soon as possible to get immediate access to their data (33% of previously attacked companies versus 15% of companies that have never been victimized), or to pay after only a couple of days of unsuccessful decrypting attempts (30% vs. 19%).” (Techwireasia)
My thoughts: It’s not recommended to pay the ransom for two reasons. First, it encourages the hackers to continue hacking. Payment lets them know their attacks are effective! Second, the cyber criminals are more likely to attack your company again, because they know you will pay. Instead, consider preventing cyber criminals from getting any control over your data. Awareness and prevention is key! Let me know if you have questions about where to get started.
On another note, the Bank of Zambia refused to entertain hackers when they demanded a ransom last week after the bank suffered a power outage. The bank actually sent a picture of male genitalia with a profane message, making it clear they were not going to pay. At first, it wasn’t sure if the message was from someone who hacked the system or the bank itself. It was later confirmed that it did come from someone affiliated with the bank. The Hive Ransomware Group claimed to encrypt the bank’s Network Attached Storage device. However, the bank’s core systems were already protected.
My thoughts: The bank was already protected and therefore didn’t see a need to even converse with the ransomware group. I hope we get to see more of these happy stories in the news.
We’ve been covering the ransomware attacks on Costa Rica since April. Their government is refusing to pay but the ransomware gang, Conti, is also refusing to move on. The initial ransom was $10 million and has now doubled to $20 million.
“The severe impact of Conti’s attack on the Costa Rican government points to the continued ability of the largest ransomware groups to operate on a scale that can pose a threat to nation states and draw on funding reserves that allow them to buy their way into some of the most sensitive computer systems by bribing those with access.”
President Chaves clarified his statement by saying, “We’re at war and this is not an exaggeration. The war is against an international terrorist group, which apparently has operatives in Costa Rica. There are very clear indications that people inside the country are collaborating with Conti.” (theverge)
My thoughts: This situation seems very messy. Usually, if a ransomware group doesn’t get paid, they take the stolen data and move on. However, it seems to be different in this situation. I will keep you posted on how to story unfolds.
“Taiwanese network-attached storage (NAS) devices maker QNAP on Thursday warned its customers of a fresh wave of DeadBolt ransomware attacks.
The intrusions are said to have targeted TS-x51 series and TS-x53 series appliances running on QTS 4.3.6 and QTS 4.4.1, according to its product security incident response team.
"QNAP urges all NAS users to check and update QTS to the latest version as soon as possible, and avoid exposing their NAS to the internet," QNAP said in an advisory.
This development marks the third time QNAP devices have come under assault from DeadBolt ransomware since the start of the year.”
My thoughts: If you need a replacement solution, I recommend working with Assurance IT 😊
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