Shane Chambers No Comments

Phishing Scams, Corona Anti-Virus, Free Ransomware Decryption & More: Cybercrime in the Era of Covid19

These are undoubtedly strange times we are living in, with unprecedented changes taking place in our lives all over the globe in order to fight the pandemic that is Covid19. Suddenly, a sizeable chunk of the workforce is working from home, in many cases for the first time. Companies are scrambling to put in place plans to accommodate this, working out whether to allow users to use their own devices, or provide company laptops or desktops for any displaced staff. Moreover, many people are out of work altogether and confined to their homes, spending significantly more time than usual browsing the internet, looking for the next clue online that will bring some certainty to their lives around the crisis they are living through.

With such a shift in online activity comes great challenges for technology companies and IT teams in ensuring their users are safe and their precious company data is secure – meanwhile cyber criminals have seen crisis as opportunity; the misfortune of others is a chance for them to take advantage of the confusion and make some extra money.

Ransomware has crippled various hospitals in the past, including many NHS Trust hospitals which were caught out by the infamous 2017 WannaCry attack.

The Covid19 pandemic is the perfect storm for cyber criminals to up the ante. Confusion reigns among users and misinformation is rife. Users who would normally be at work are now accessing the internet from home devices, which typically are not sitting behind the advanced firewalls, email filters and policies put in place by their organisations to protect them against malicious activity.

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Shane Chambers No Comments

Ransomware Strain ‘SamSam’ Reportedly Earned Handlers Over €5.1m

A strain of ransomware titled SamSam has earned its handlers over 5.1 million euros to date, according to estimates, since it first began hitting enterprises in 2015. Security firm Sophos has released the data in a report, after tracking the Bitcoin addresses found on SamSam ransom notes and sample files.


The note displayed on PCs that were infected by SamSam ransomware, as seen by businesses, hospitals, schools, local councils and more

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Shane Chambers No Comments

Less Businesses Reporting Ransomware Despite Increase In Attacks

It seems that everyone in the cyber security sphere is talking about ransomware these days. Last year, attacks such as WannaCry, NotPetya and BadRabbit took the business world by storm, costing billions in damages. Ransomware is by no means a new threat (it has been around since at least 2005), but it is one of the fastest growing and most costly. Cyber crime is constantly changing, and criminals keep creating news ways to steal money. Ransomware has gotten increasingly sophisticated since 2005, but the people using and deploying it haven’t necessarily – now some cyber criminals are making more money selling high-tech ransomware strains to non-technical criminals than if they were to conduct the attacks themselves. The result is that more and more ‘hackers’ have access to ransomware and need very little technical know-how to operate it, leading to more and more ransomware attacks each year. It may come as a surprise, then, to hear that the FBI received less reports of ransomware attacks in 2017 than in 2016 and 2015, despite the increase in attacks.


The FBI reported just 1,783 reports of ransomware attacks in 2017, compared to 2,673 in 2016 and 2,453 in 2015.

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Shane Chambers No Comments

Cyber Report Shows Majority of Paying Ransomware Victims Still Don’t Get Data Back

Have you been hit by ransomware recently? According to a recent survey by CyberEdge, the most reliable approach (by far) to defending against ransomware is proactive rather than reactive. That is to say, having a robust backup and disaster recovery system in place is far more likely to result in minimal disruption and data loss than trying to pay the criminals in the hopes that they do the ‘honourable’ thing and decrypt your critical data. For the report, CyberEdge surveyed IT security professionals and found that more than half (55%) had been hit by ransomware in 2017. The study found that of those who had prepared for ransomware using backups and other business continuity procedures, 86.9% were able to successfully recover their data. However, of those who didn’t have backups to rely on and instead paid the ransom, only 49% actually had their data decrypted and recovered.


Thinking of paying ransomware demands? Think again, as less than half of ransomware payments result in successfully decrytped and restored data.

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Shane Chambers No Comments

As GDPR Looms – Cyber Criminals Move Towards Business Extortion

Trend Micro, one of the largest cyber security firms in the world, has released their annual security roundup report, and the results show some alarming trends. With the GDPR upcoming, cyber criminals have been refining their techniques in order to increase their financial gains, moving away from exploit kits which can be an unpredictable earner, to more reliable tactics such as business email compromise, phishing and spam, ransomware, and the relatively new threat to businesses, malicious crypto-currency mining.


Exploits kits are down, but 2017 saw over 300 new ransomware families, in addition to a rise in business email compromise scams and the all-new malicious crypto-mining threat.

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