Brief Summary of January 2020

Written by David Palmer OBE 

The alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’ mobile phone by Saudi Arabia has made big news. However, intelligence suggests that it is only one of millions of such attacks worldwide. In most cases, malware is usually inserted by a recipient clicking on a link he does not know or which he believes to be from a trusted sender. The attack usually remains undetected and requires a thorough and expert penetration test to discover it. 

Ransomware attacks continue to increase in number, frequency and infected downtime. Coveware reports that costs doubled in Q4 2019. Attacks by Ryuk and Sodinokibi extort seven-figure pay-outs from large enterprises. Average downtime has increased from 16.2 from previous 12.1 days. The most significant January attack was on foreign exchange company Travelex UK. The outage, caused by REvil virus, lasted more than a week, and crippled currency exchange, including some banks. The hackers are claiming a ransom of $6m. 

Data harvesting attacks proliferate. UN offices had 3 separate attacks on their serves in what is believed to be a state sponsored espionage action.

15 NFL teams have had social media hacked by OurMine, who boasted ‘everything is hackable’. 

Microsoft admitted that it potentially exposed 250m customer records over some years, but has remediated this.However a further patch is being issued to redress some crypto elements of Windows Crypt32.dll. 

UK consultancy firms have had sensitive data stores in AWS S3 bucket exposed in an unsecured database. Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Citrix Gateway are issuing patches against known targeted attacks.

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