Industry Intel

How Ransomware Sneaks In

Ransomware has officially made the mainstream. Dramatic headlines announce the latest attacks and news outlets highlight the staggeringly high ransoms businesses pay to retrieve their stolen data. And it’s no wonder why – ransomware attacks are on the rise and the...

An MSP and SMB guide to disaster preparation, recovery and remediation

Introduction It’s important for a business to be prepared with an exercised business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan plan before its hit with ransomware so that it can resume operations as quickly as possible. Key steps and solutions should be followed...

Podcast: Cyber resilience in a remote work world

The global pandemic that began to send us packing from our offices in March of last year upended our established way of working overnight. We’re still feeling the effects. Many office workers have yet to return to the office in the volumes they worked in pre-pandemic....

5 Tips to get Better Efficacy out of Your IT Security Stack

If you’re an admin, service provider, security executive, or are otherwise affiliated with the world of IT solutions, then you know that one of the biggest challenges to overcome is efficacy. Especially in terms of cybersecurity, efficacy is something of an amorphous...

How Cryptocurrency and Cybercrime Trends Influence One Another

Typically, when cryptocurrency values change, one would expect to see changes in crypto-related cybercrime. In particular, trends in Bitcoin values tend to be the bellwether you can use to predict how other currencies’ values will shift, and there are usually...

Cyber News Rundown: Trickbot Spreads Via Subway Emails

Trickbot spreading through Subway company emails

Customers of Subway U.K. have been receiving confirmation emails for recent orders that instead contain malicious links for initiating Trickbot malware downloads. Subway has since disclosed that it discovered unauthorized access to several of its servers, which then launched the campaign. Users who do click on the malicious link initiate a process in Task Manager that can be stopped to prevent additional illicit activities typical of Trickbot infections.

Scores of municipal websites attacked in Lithuania

At least 22 websites belonging to various municipalities in Lithuania were compromised after a sophisticated cyberattack allowed intruders to take control. After gaining access to the sites, the attackers began delivering misinformation emails under the auspices of Lithuanian government and military ministries. Much of the misinformation being spread revolved around military enlistment and the suspicion of corruption at an airport housing a NATO facility.

Researchers discover millions of medical records online

Researchers at CybelAngel have uncovered over 45 million healthcare records on unprotected servers. Amongst the sensitive data was personal health information and other personally identifiable data, all left on servers with a login page that allowed access without credentials. It’s likely this data was left unsecured because of the number of medical professionals needing to access, though the security lapse is inexcusable. With healthcare facilities prime targets for ransomware attacks, communications between organizations should entail strict security to protect the valuable data.

Ransomware strikes city of Independence, Missouri

Officials for the city of Independence, Missouri, have been working for weeks to recover from a ransomware attack that forced them to take several essential services offline. Fortunately, recent file backups were available to restore some of the encrypted systems to normal. At this point, officials remain uncertain if customer or employee data was stolen during the attack, and no ransomware group has come forward to take credit for the attack or post the stolen data for sale.

Data Breach Compromises Patient Data at California Hospital

California’s Sonoma Valley Hospital recently delivered letters to roughly 67,000 patients regarding a data breach back in October that may have compromised personally identifiable information and other healthcare records. While the hospital was able to shut down some of their systems to prevent the breach from spreading, the attackers are believed to have gained access to and stole sensitive data.

Remote Work is Here to Stay, and Other Cybersecurity Predictions for 2021

The cybersecurity industry and end-of-year predictions go together like Fall and football or champagne and the New Year. But on the heels of an unprecedented year, where a viral outbreak changed the landscape of the global workforce practically overnight, portending what’s in store for the year ahead is even trickier than usual.  

One thing the cybersecurity experts at Webroot agree on is that work from home is here to stay for 2021, or at least it won’t recede to pre-pandemic levels in even the medium-term. What is likely to change is how companies respond to their remote workforces. The security measures they take (or don’t), the educational opportunities they provide (or fail to) and their commitment to innovation (or lack thereof) will likely separate the winners from the losers in the year ahead.

Yes, cybersecurity for remote workforces will likely be a prevailing concern throughout 2021, even following positive news on the vaccine development front, according to Webroot experts. Another prevailing theme from the professionals here, when asked to make their annual predictions for the new year, is that a cybersecurity skills gap will continue to haunt businesses and pose opportunities for those looking to start their careers in the field or make the switch to it. As such, automation and the adoption of AI technologies will be critical to plugging the gap.

Read on for more details from leading engineers, security analysts and product specialists from around our organization for complete cybersecurity predictions for 2021. Take heart because, whatever happens, 2020 won’t be easily outdone (knock on wood).

On remote workforces and the problem of personal devices

David Dufour, VP of engineering, Carbonite + Webroot

In 2021, many businesses will continue to operate remotely as a result of the pandemic and there must be an emphasis on training employees on security best practices, how to identify modern threats such as phishing, and where company data is being accessed and stored. Phishing is going to remain one of the most prominent ways to attack users and will become more sophisticated as it’s tailored to take advantage of work-from-home setups and distractions.  

Grayson Milbourne, security intelligence director, Carbonite + Webroot

The biggest change for 2021 will be securing remote workforces and remote perimeters, which include home networks and home devices, particularly personal devices. These all add their own challenges. Home networks and their configurations are diverse. Many use out-of-date routers with insecure settings. Personal devices are often used for work and, as we saw in our 2020 Threat Report, are twice as likely as business devices to encounter infections. If not addressed, this could have a serious impact on businesses in the coming year.

Hal Lonas, CTO and SVP of SMB engineering, Carbonite + Webroot

We shouldn’t overlook the incredible societal and behavioral changes underway right now. These put all of us in new situations we’ve never encountered before. These new contexts create new opportunities for social engineering attacks like phishing and scare tactics to get us to open emails and click on fraudulent links.

Tyler Moffitt, Sr. security analyst, Carbonite + Webroot

It really doesn’t matter the company or the length of the work-from-home stint, one thing that’s constant is that professionals at home are using their personal devices and personal network. Securing the remote perimeter is going to be the biggest challenge for cybersecurity professionals now through 2021 because laptops issued to professional workforce are much more secure than personal devices.

Personal devices are twice as likely to be infected than business devices. Even more worrying, we saw with our new COVID-19 report that one-third of Americans will use personal devices when working from home. Businesses will need to account for that.

Jamie Zajac, VP of product management, Carbonite + Webroot

I predict that in 2021 vulnerable industries like hospitality, travel and retail will start to use even more remote access platforms like Square and others. This transfers a lot of control to a third-party, so it’s essential companies make sure their data is protected on their end, that their vendors are trustworthy and that their reputation is safe from the damage an internal breach could cause

On the cybersecurity skills shortage

Briana Butler, engineering services manager, Carbonite + Webroot

Moving forward, cybersecurity professionals will need greater data analysis skills to be able to look at large sets of data and synthesize the information so organizations can derive actionable value from it. In 2021, organizations need to start implementing programs to upskill their current cybersecurity workforce to focus on the skills they’ll need for the future such as analyzing complex data, developing algorithms, and understanding machine learning techniques.

David Dufour, VP of engineering, Carbonite + Webroot

The cyber skills gap will continue to be an issue in 2021 because companies continue to believe they understand cybersecurity and, as a result, tend to spend less on external cybersecurity resources. This leads to a feeling of false security and, unfortunately, inadequate security.

Cybersecurity requires a financial investment to truly meet an organizations’ needs and to enact processes for securing systems. It’s much more effective to invest in a few, solid security processes and to address gaps at the outset than it is to implement an inexpensive, broad security solution that falls short in key areas.

Hal Lonas, CTO and SVP of SMB engineering, Carbonite + Webroot

The pandemic has also changed the game for managed service providers (MSPs). They’re used to running a thin-margin business, but this has become even more difficult as their small business customers struggle. MSPs are fortunately heavily automated, but now they are under increasing pressure to deliver more with less. MSPs more than ever need automated solutions that make it easy for them to manage, secure and restore customers when incidents do occur. Some of that automation will come from AI, but auto-remediation, backup and restore capabilities are also important.

Looking ahead to 2021

Whatever 2021 is, at least 2020 will be over, right? But in all seriousness, the virus does not respect our calendar transitions and its implications will certainly bleed over into the New Year. Much has been made of a supposed “new normal,” but to truly arrive there, companies must account for the new realities of pervasive remote work and an exacerbated cybersecurity skills shortage.

If there’s one takeaway from our experts’ predictions for 2021, it’s that.

Cyber News Rundown: Global Cybercrime Costs Surpass $1 Trillion

Cybercrime surpasses $1Trillion in global costs

A recent study has put the global cost of cybercrime at over $1 trillion for 2020. This figure is up significantly from 2018, which was calculated at around $600 billion. And while most effects are financial, roughly 92% of affected organizations cited by the study reported additional issues stemming from cyberattacks. Over half took no measures to prevent or recover from common types of attack.

Major hosting provider affected by cyberattack

The worldwide hosting service provider Netgain was forced to take many of its servers and data centers offline following a recent ransomware incident. The attack occurred just before Thanksgiving and continues to cause intermittent outages for customers as the company works to restore their systems. Due to the volume of systems Netgain provides services for, they remain unsure how long customers will be inconvenienced by the fallout from this attack.

Default passwords compromising radiology equipment

Researchers have discovered that GE has implemented default passwords that can be easily found online across a wide range of medical equipment. These passwords, used by technicians to perform routine maintenance, could also be used illicitly to take control of the machines or cause them to malfunction. Users are unable to change these credentials on their own and require a certified GE tech to come to make on-site adjustments. While GE has stated it does not believe any unauthorized access has been identified, the critical nature of these machines makes this a high priority vulnerability.

Educational technology still lacking proper security

An alarming number of schools and educational institutions switching to remote learning have made no changes to their security policies or implemented any cybersecurity training for staff and/or students. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of the schools surveyed weren’t even able to provide devices for their employees or students to work remotely during the pandemic, though 70 percent had switched their regular communications to video conferencing services.

Payment card skimmers hiding in CSS

Camouflaging payment card skimmers into the CSS of compromised e-commerce site is the latest evasion tactic being used by cybercriminals. The skimmer is run by the Magecart group, which is known for successfully evading detection software and innovating to boost longevity on compromised systems. The embedded script launches during the checkout process by redirecting the customer to a new page where it begins stealing information entered into a form.

Cyber News Rundown: Biological Worries Over Malware Attacks

Biological Worries Over Malware Attacks

Researchers have recently unveiled the latest potential victim for malware authors: biological laboratories. By illicitly accessing these facilities, hackers may be able to digitally replace sections of DNA strings, causing unexpected results when biologists go to create or experiment with these compounds. While it is fortunate that this specific targeted attack was simulated in a closed environment, it brought to light the extreme focus that a cyber-attack may be capable of implementing, and the lengths some attackers may go to accomplish their goal.

SMS App Exposes Messages of Millions

Despite the weeks of effort from the developer, GO SMS Pro an instant messaging app with over 100 million users is still suffering from messages being leaked. What originated as a bug has left the messaging app critically flawed for upwards of three months, with no clear signs of resolution, as even new versions of the app have been unable to rectify the problem. The researchers who discovered the flaw were able to view video and picture messages, along with other private messages, due to the URL shortening that occurs when the messages are sent to contacts that don’t have the app installed.

Colorado Health Service Provider Suffers Patient Data Breach

Sometime during the middle of September, the Colorado-based health service provider AspenPointe suffered a data breach that may have compromised the sensitive health information of nearly 300,000 patients. The facility noticed the unauthorized access over a two-week period, but only began notifying patients of the breach in the third week of November. Officials have also confirmed that everything from names to medical history, and other highly sensitive personal information was stolen, though no reports of misuse have yet arisen.

Ransomware Shuts Down Alabama School District

The Huntsville City school district, one of the largest in Alabama, has been forced to close all operations following a ransomware attack that took place as students and staff were returning from Thanksgiving break. District officials worked quickly to take all devices offline, be them computers or smart phones, to stop the spread of the attack. Students were also sent home early, with no firm statement on when classes would resume, as the attack could take them days or weeks to recover from.

Five Arrested in Louisiana Child Crime Sweep

At least 5 individuals have been arrested by the Louisiana Cyber Crime Unit, following an investigation into the online exploitation of children. By tracing IP addresses and even simply viewing social media profiles of all 5 individuals, law enforcement agents have been able to confirm charges of possession or creation of child pornography, thus removing another group of child predators from the general population.

Cyber News Rundown: REvil Ransomware Strikes

REvil Ransomware Strikes Hosting Provider

In recent days the web hosting provider Managed.com has been working to recover from a ransomware attack targeting many of their core systems. While the company was able to stop the spread of the attack by shutting down their systems and client websites, it remains unclear what information may have been encrypted and sent elsewhere. The demanded ransom is equal to $500,000 in Monero cryptocurrency and is set to double if not paid in the next week.

Cyberattack Shuts Down Americold Operations

Cold storage provider Americold revealed this week it was forced to shut down many of its systems after discovering evidence of a cyberattack. Some variant of ransomware is thought to be responsible for the attack, which has disabled several customer-facing services and could still be affecting Americold. Fortunately, the company responded quickly and was able to stop the attack from spreading across its network, which could have caused significantly more damage, especially if financial information was accessed.

Ticketmaster Receives Fine for 2018 Data Breach

More than two years after Ticketmaster announced a data breach had compromised a significant amount of customer information, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has settled on a fine of £1.25 million. The attack was significant because, while multiple organizations warned Ticketmaster of the breach, the company did nothing to resolve the security lapse. Officials also discovered that upwards of 60,000 customer payment cards were used for additional fraudulent activity after the Ticketmaster breach.

Healthcare Remains Easiest Target for Cyberattacks

A recent survey of healthcare organizations found that 73% had computer systems totally unprepared to repel a cyberattack. Attackers are improving their operations rapidly compared to security improvements being implemented by these organizations, even with the increasing year-over-year cybersecurity spending. To make matters worse, pressure put on the healthcare industry by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many facilities to put security improvements on hold as they deal with increased patient numbers.

Severity of Capcom Breach Continues to Rise

A ransomware attack on Capcom that was initially suspected to not affect customer data has been found to be more severe than first thought. Upwards of 135,000 customers, employees and other individuals with ties to the company may have had sensitive personal information compromised. While Capcom has confirmed that payment data is processed through a third-party and isn’t stored on their systems, internal documents and statements seem to have been compromised by the attack.

Cyber News Rundown: Flood of Phony IRS Emails

Phony IRS Emails Flooding Inboxes

Upwards of 70,000 inboxes have been receiving spam claiming to be from the IRS threatening legal action for late or missing payments. Most recipients are Microsoft Office 365 users and have been receiving threats of lawsuits to, wage garnishment and even arrest. These spoofing scams have risen in popularity in recent years, but have mixed results since many users are familiar with the tactic.

Pakistani Airlines Network Access for Sale

Researchers found a listing for full admin access to the Pakistan International Airlines network on multiple dark web forums earlier this week. The current asking price is an incredibly low $4,000, considering the amount of information that could be used for malicious activities. The hackers claim to have 15 databases, each with many thousands of records, including passport data and other highly sensitive personal information on passengers and employees alike. It is believed that this group has been responsible for at least 38 other sales of network access in the past five months.

Zoom Enhances Security at Heed of FTC

Following a settlement with the FTC, the video communication service Zoom is being forced to upgrade its overall security after it was found that they weren’t implementing the end-to-end encryption the business touted. It was also discovered that encryption of recorded video calls often did not take place and regular security testing of security measures did not occur, endangering user privacy for personal video calls and chats.

Mashable Database Compromised

The online media outlet Mashable confirmed it had suffered a cyberattack on its systems, and that the attacker had already published some of the stolen data, this weekend. Fortunately, Mashable also confirmed the stolen data was from a system that was no longer in use. The company has also begun contacted affected customers and informing them to be wary of suspicious emails and to forward them to Mashable for further investigation.

Millions of RedDoorz Records for Sale

Roughly 5.8 million user records belonging to the hotel booking platform RedDoorz were found for sale on a hacker forum. These records were likely the the result of a cyberattack targeting RedDoorz in September, though the company firmly stated no financial information was compromised. After viewing a sample of the stolen data, however, it was discovered that a significant amount of extremely sensitive information belonging to customers who may have stayed at any of their 1,000 properties across Southeast Asia had been published.

Cyber News Rundown: Maze Ransomware Shuts Down

Maze Ransomware Group Ends Operations

A press release issued this week announced the end of the Maze ransomware group’s data theft operations. In the release, the Maze authors revealed their motives behind one of the most successful ransomware campaigns to date, and why they chose to finally shut down their massive project. It also stated the Maze team was working to expose the major security holes key industries fail to address, though their methods created many victims.  

Magecart Targets International Gold Retailer

Nearly three months after a data breach caused by a Magecart attack struck the international precious metals retailer, JM Bullion has finally released an official statement to customers. After identifying unauthorized activity on their systems in the mid-July, the company went on to find that their systems had been compromised since February by Magecart payment card-skimming software. The company has yet to acknowledge why took so long to discover the breach or why it failed to follow GDPR regulations by immediately contacting affected customers.

Ryuk Remains Top Player Throughout 2020

With ransomware continuing its stay at the top of the cyberthreat throne, Ryuk variants have been responsible for over a third of all ransomware attacks in 2020 alone or roughly 67 million attacks. Ryuk has been around for over two years, but found much greater success this year after being found responsible for only 5,100 attacks in 2019. Ransomware attacks grew 40 percent over last year, to nearly 200 million as of Q3.

Cannabis Site Leaves Database Exposed

An unsecured database belonging to cannabis website GrowDiaries and housing over 3.4 million user records was found to be accessible last month. The data included 1.4 million user passwords that were encrypted using MD5 hashing, which is known to be easily unlocked by cybercriminals. Nearly a week after being informed of the database GrowDiaries properly secured it from public access, though it remains unclear how long it was accessible or who accessed it during that time.

Mattel Reveals Ransomware Attack

Following a July ransomware attack, Mattel has finally issued an official statement regarding the overall damage. The company has confirmed that no data was stolen during the attack, which was quickly identified by their security, and many systems were taken offline to prevent any damage or theft occured. The ransomware attack was likely perpetrated by TrickBot, as it’s known for concentrating on large organizations and leaving them exposed for some encrypting variant to follow.

Cyber News Rundown: Flash Banned from Windows

Adobe Flash Being Uninstalled on Windows Systems

Following its September announcement, Microsoft has released an update that removes Adobe Flash from Windows 10 systems and prevents reinstallation. It should be noted that this update only removes the version of Adobe Flash that comes bundled with Windows 10. Internet browser extensions and stand-alone installs of the software will remain unaffected by this update. Should the user want to re-install Adobe Flash on an updated system, they must either revert to a point prior to the update or perform a fresh install of Windows 10.

Gunnebo Suffers Critical Data Breach

Officials for Gunnebo, a Swedish security firm, have revealed that they were victims of a data breach in August. Researchers also discovered an 18GB file confirmed to contain customer information stolen from Gunnebo. The compromised data was uploaded to a public server after Gunnebo refused to pay a ransom, exposing roughly 38,000 sensitive files.

Finnish Health Center Hacked

It was recently revealed that the Finnish psychotherapy center Vastaamo suffered a ransomware attack that compromised highly sensitive patient data belonging to thousands of individuals. After refusing to pay a 40 Bitcoin ransom, the attackers began publishing the stolen data on the dark web. While officials have yet to determine when the breach occurred, they have been contacting victims about the stolen data since October 21.

Customer Accounts at UK Restaurant Chain Breached

Recent technology changes at restaurants and other public establishments like touchless methods of interaction have left UK restaurants open major security flaws. One such flaw has been exploited at UK restaurant chain Nando’s, with several customer accounts affected. By accessing previous account logins and using credentials that were stolen in prior cyberattacks, hackers have been able to create fraudulent orders. The company has since confirmed that, though they themselves weren’t the target of the breach, they will compensate any customers who are fraudulently charged.

Ryuk Suspected in Major Steelcase Attack

International furniture maker Steelcase was forced to take its systems offline following a ransomware attack that began late last week. It is believed that the attack used the highly active ransomware variant, Ryuk, though this has yet to be confirmed by Steelcase. By shutting down the remaining unaffected systems, Steelcase hopes it was able to stop the spread of encryption before irreparable damage was caused.

Cyber News Rundown: Child Smartwatch Backdoored

Backdoor Found in Children’s Smartwatch

Researchers have discovered that the X4, made by Norwegian smartwatch seller Xplora, contains a backdoor that could allow for information to be stolen. The X4 watch is designed specifically for children with a limited number of capabilities, mostly for children’s security. The backdoor, however, could allow attackers to take snapshots, view messages, call records, and access geolocational data from the wearer. The watches are designed and built in China and it remains unclear who has access to data created and stored on the devices.

Ransomware Strikes London Borough

The London borough of Hackney recently fell victim to a ransomware attack, taking several of the council’s primary services offline. While still little is known about the attack, it’s likely that encrypted files were also stolen for auctioning to the highest bidder. Council officials are working with law enforcement to determine the initial attack vector and information that may have been targeted.

Carnival Reveals Updates to Recent Cyberattack

Nearly two months after a ransomware attack compromised a third-party vendor for the Carnival Corporation, the company announced sensitive passenger information has indeed been exposed. An undetermined number of customers and employees may be affected across three Carnival cruise lines. With 150,000 employees worldwide, and upwards of 13 million customers, this data breach could be affect millions of individuals.

Ransomware Takes Aim at International Law Firm

International law firm Seyfarth Shaw has confirmed a ransomware attack targeted their systems over the weekend. While the extent of the attack remains unclear, several systems were forced offline after encryption was executed to stop additional spreading. Firm officials stated that no client information was stolen or illicitly accessed, but they are still operating without email or a live website. Some systems were saved from the attack but officials have yet to confirm if customers were affected by the breach.

Software AG Suffers Major Data Breach

German IoT specialist Software AG suffered a ransomware attack that was able to exfiltrate significant amounts of data. Officials have confirmed that, while they have been able to maintain online services throughout the attack, the malicious downloading of an unknown amount of sensitive data did take place. The attacking group has not yet been identified, but other attacks of similar scale have cost companies anywhere from $20 to $70 million in ransoms for the return of their data.

Cyber News Rundown: COVID-related Attacks Target Canadian Companies

New Jersey Hospital Pays Massive Ransom

Officials have decided to pay roughly $670,000 in ransom following a ransomware attack on the University Hospital in New Jersey. The hospital was likely forced into this decision after being unable to restore from backups the 240GB of data stolen in the attack on their systems. It’s not entirely clear what information was stolen, but given the haste of payment it was likely highly sensitive patient data.

COVID-Related Cyberattacks Target Canadian Companies

A recent survey revealed that over 25% of all Canadian business organizations had been targeted by a COVID-19-themed cyberattack since the beginning of the year. Most of the organizations surveyed also reported seeing a significant rise in overall cyberattacks since the pandemic began. Worrisome findings also revealed that 38% of organizations surveyed were unsure if they had fallen victim to any type of cyberattack, which could mean the amount of customer information for sale on black markets could be significantly higher.

Boom! Mobile Website Compromised

Customer data has been compromised for users of the Boom! Mobile website, which was infiltrated by malicious JavaScript. It’s still unclear how the unauthorized code got onto the site or how long was active. Officials for the mobile company have confirmed they do not store payment card data and that no Boom! Mobile accounts were compromised.

Major Ransomware Attacks Increase Through Q3

Researchers have reported a massive increase in ransomware attacks in Q3 of 2020, with the Maze group being responsible for 12% of all attacks. They also reported that Ryuk ransomware variants were responsible for an average of 20 attacks per week. With the ongoing neglect of cybersecurity in major corporations, ransomware attacks will likely continue as long as their authors find them profitable.

Chicago Food Delivery Service Stricken with Data Breach

Nearly 800,000 customer records were compromised following a data breach at ChowBus, a Chicago-based food delivery service. With roughly 440,000 unique email addresses exposed, many individuals are now more susceptible to additional phishing attacks or identity theft. Fortunately, however, ChowBus does not store payment card information on its site.

Cyber News Rundown: Ryuk Wreaks Healthcare Havoc

Ryuk Shuts Down Universal Health Services

Computer systems for all 400 Universal Health Services facilities around the globe have reportedly been shut down following an attack by the Ryuk ransomware group. Ryuk is known for targeting large organizations, but the healthcare industry has been gaining popularity among these groups due to high volumes of sensitive information and typically low levels of security. It’s unknown if the healthcare firm has paid ransoms for the encrypted data or if they are restoring systems from available backups.

Global Insurance Firm Targeted by Ransomware

The Fortune 500 insurance firm AJG was forced to take several computer systems offline over the weekend after identifying a cyber-attack. It’s still unclear which ransomware variant was responsible for the attack and officials with the firm haven’t revealed if customer or employee information was stolen. Third-party researchers confirmed multiple AJG servers, unpatched for a serious vulnerability, could have been the entry point for the attack.

French Shipping Company Knocked Offline by Ransomware

All computer systems and websites belonging to CMA CGM, a French shipping giant, were knocked offline by a crippling ransomware attack. This attack on CMA CGM makes them the fourth international shipping company to fall victim to a cyberattack, which have proven profitable, in as many years. The company has verified that the Ragnar Locker ransomware group was behind the attack, though they have not revealed the ransom asked.

Cyber Attack Forces Swatch to Disconnect Online Services

Though not confirmed by Swatch, the Swiss watchmaker was reportedly forced to take many of their systems offline after likely falling victim to a ransomware attack. While the company did not verify the type of attack, ransomware’s prevalence this year makes it a likely culprit. Swatch has announced they plan to seek legal action against the attackers.

DDoS Attacks See Substantial Rise in 2020

There were over 4.8 million DDoS attacks during the first half of 2020, a 15% rise over the same period last year. May alone saw more than 900,000 DDoS attacks, a record for most in a single month. Ninety percent of these attacks lasted for under an hour, marking another shift from previous years’ attacks. They have also increased in complexity, leaving victims and researchers with little time to defend themselves.

False Confidence is the Opposite of Cyber Resilience

Have you ever met a person who thinks they know it all? Or maybe you’ve occasionally been that person in your own life? No shame and no shade intended – it’s great (and important) to be confident about your skills. And in cases where you know your stuff, we encourage you to keep using your knowledge to help enhance the lives and experiences of the people around you.

But there’s a big difference between being reasonably confident and having false confidence, as we saw in our recent global survey. Featured in the report COVID-19 Clicks: How Phishing Capitalized on a Global Crisis, the survey data shows that, all over the world, people are pretty confident about their ability to keep themselves and their data safe online. Unfortunately, people are also still getting phished and social engineering tactics aimed at employees are still a major way that cybercriminals successfully breach businesses. These data points strongly suggest that we aren’t all being quite as cyber-safe as we think.

Overconfidence by the Numbers

Approximately 3 in 5 people (59%) worldwide think they know enough to stay safe online.

You may think 59% doesn’t sound high enough to earn the label of “false confidence”. But there were two outliers in our survey who dragged the average down significantly (France and Japan, with only 44% and 26% confidence, respectively). If you only take the average of the five other countries surveyed (the US, UK, Australia/New Zealand, Germany and Italy), it’s a full ten percentage points higher at 69%. UK respondents had the highest level of confidence out of all seven regions surveyed with 75%.

8 in 10 people say they take steps to determine if an email message is malicious.

Yet 3 in 4 open emails and click links from unknown senders.

When so many of us claim to know what to do to stay safe online (and even say we take steps to determine the potential sketchiness of our emails), why are we still getting phished? We asked Dr. Prashanth Rajivan, assistant professor at the University of Washington and expert in human behavior and technology, for his take on the matter. He had two important points to make.

Individualism

According to Dr. Rajivan, it’s important to note that Japan had the lowest level of confidence about their cybersecurity know-how (only 26%), but the survey showed they also had the lowest rate of falling victim to phishing (16%). He pointed out that countries with more individualistic cultures seem to align with countries who ranked themselves highly on their ability to keep themselves and their data safe.

“When people adopt a less individualistic mindset and, instead, perceive themselves to have a greater responsibility to others, their average level of willingness to take risks decreases. This is especially important to note for businesses that want to have a cyber-aware culture.”

– Prashanth Rajivan, Ph.D.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Another factor Dr. Rajivan says may contribute to overconfidence in one’s ability to spot phishing attacks might be a psychological phenomenon called the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”. The Dunning-Kruger Effect refers to a cognitive bias in which people who are less skilled at a given task tend to be overconfident in their ability, i.e. we tend to overestimate our capabilities in areas where we are actually less capable.

How These Numbers Affect Businesses

Only 14% of workers feel that a company’s cyber resilience is a responsibility all employees share.

The correlations between overconfidence and individualism may also translate into a mentality that workers are not responsible for their own cybersecurity during work hours. While 63% of workers surveyed agree that a cyber resilience strategy that includes both security tools and employee education should be a top priority for any business, only 14% felt that cyber resilience was a shared responsibility for all employees.

How to Create a Cyber Aware Culture

The short answer: a strong combination of employee training and tools.

The long answer: when asked what would help them feel better prepared to avoid phishing and prevent cyberattacks, workers worldwide agreed that their employers need to invest more heavily in training and education, in addition to strong cybersecurity tools. Dr. Rajivan also agrees, stating that, if employers want to build cybersecurity awareness into their business culture, then they need to invest heavily in their people.

“By creating a feeling of personal investment in the individuals who make up a company, you encourage the employees to return that feeling of investment toward their workplace. That’s a huge part of ensuring that cybersecurity is part of the culture. Additionally, if we want to enable employees to assess risk properly, we need to cut down on uncertainty and blurring of context lines. That means both educating employees and ensuring we take steps to minimize the ways in which work and personal life get intertwined.”

– Prashanth Rajivan, Ph.D.

Additionally, he tells us, “Human behavior is shaped by past experiences, consequences and reinforcement. To see a real change in human behavior related to phishing and online risk-taking habits in general, people need frequent and varied experiences PLUS appropriate feedback that incentivizes good behavior.”

Ultimately, the importance of training can’t be emphasized enough. According to real-world data from customers using Webroot® Security Awareness Training, which provides both training courses and easy-to-run, customizable phishing simulations, consistent training can reduce click rates on phishing scams by up to 86.5%.

It’s clear a little training can go a long way. If you want to increase cyber resilience, you have to minimize dangerous false confidence. And to do that, you need to empower your workforce with the tools and training they need to confidently (and correctly) make strong, secure decisions about what they do and don’t click online.

Learn more about Security Awareness Training programs.