Microsoft's DDoS attack & how SmartPay may not be smart
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Microsoft's DDoS attack & how SmartPay may not be smart

1.Is SmartPay a smart choice?

Eftpos provider SmartPay, Australian payment system since 1984, has fallen victim to a significant cyber attack. While the company clarified that it does not retain individual cardholder information during transaction processing, the specifics of the breached data were not disclosed. The attack, detected on June 10, involved ransomware impacting certain systems in New Zealand. SmartPay has taken immediate action to contain the incident, enlisting the support of Cyber CX and collaborating with government authorities. (itnews.com.au)

My thoughts: This business has been around since 1984. Is it plausible theory to believe that older businesses are more reluctant to commit to cyber security? Given their long run, it may be true their business probably evaded issues for a long time. Sometimes companies get complacent. We see this often in the industry. Acknowledging this sudden eruption of ongoing threats is probably not their first instinct, so seeing a quick reaction is still a silver lining. Thoughts?

2.Driving into a disaster

Officials have revealed that personal information for every holder of a driver's license from Louisiana, a state with over 4.6 million residents, was exposed. The compromised data includes names, addresses, social security numbers, driver's license numbers, vehicle registration information, birthdates, heights, and eye colors. It is estimated that approximately 6 million records are involved in this breach.

The Russia-linked extortion group, CI0p, claimed responsibility for the hack, but stated they would not exploit any data taken from government agencies, although specific details remain undisclosed. While there is no evidence of the exposed information being sold or shared, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards advised residents to take precautionary measures to safeguard their identities. (theguardian)

My thoughts: Despite ongoing initiatives in security, the government seems to be very vulnerable. What does this tell hackers? What does this tell other countries? In the future, the size of an army won’t be as relevant as the country’s cyber security team.

3.Microsoft’s DDoS Attack

In early June, Microsoft's flagship Office suite and cloud computing platform faced serious disruptions caused by Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. As a reminder, this is when millions of bots are sent to a website to crash the server. Anonymous Sudan, a hacktivist group, claimed responsibility for flooding the sites with junk traffic. While Microsoft confirmed the attacks and their temporary impact on service availability, they provided few details regarding customer impact or global reach. The attackers focused on disruption and publicity, using rented cloud infrastructure and virtual private networks to launch the attacks from botnets. Microsoft assured that no customer data was accessed or compromised. (apnews)

My thoughts: DDoS is popping up in the news more often. It’s an interesting attack because hackers don’t usually make money from this attack. It’s often JUST to cause disruption.

4.More Students Affected

Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa's largest school district, confirmed a ransomware attack on January 9, 2023, leading to the shutdown of all networked systems. The district received a ransom demand, but has not paid it based on the advice of cybersecurity experts. Approximately 6,700 individuals affected by the data breach will receive notifications this week. As a precautionary measure, credit monitoring services are being offered, and steps to protect personal information are provided.

My thoughts: Are we doing enough to protect our data? Seems like based on the number of data leaks, we are not. Thoughts?

5. Have you heard?

To cap off this month's Cyber Weekly, I wanted to highlight my excitement about one of our newly onboarded vendors, Abnormal Security. The reason why Assurance IT decided to make this strategic investment with Abnormal was due to their platform's effectiveness at significantly mitigating losses related to business / vendor email compromise by leveraging advanced user behavior profiling and behavioral data science.

Abnormal offers a free non-invasive, minimal-overhead, Email Risk Assessment which highlights the residual risk that is bypassing an organization's existing email security controls. If you'd like to learn more about Abnormal and their free Risk Assessment, please write ABNORMAL in the comments below. We can discuss in further detail.

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