Eurolink Blog

A lot happened in August with a spike in cyber activity and reporting highlighting just how diverse and impactful cyberattacks are.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange suffers two DDoS attacks...

Interrupting trading for several hours each time, the New Zealand Stock Exchange suffered two Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in two days last month. The first happened on 26 August between 11.24am and approximately 15.00pm local time, although additional disruptions continued throughout the afternoon. A similar impact was then felt on 27 August. A memo from officials at the stock exchange was issued "NZX experienced a volumetric DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack from offshore via its network service provider, which impacted NZX network connectivity. The systems impacted included NZX websites and the Markets Announcement Platform. As such, NZX decided to halt trading in its cash markets at approximately 15.57. A DDoS attack aims to disrupt service by saturating a network with significant volumes of internet traffic. The attack was able to be mitigated and connectivity has now been restored for NZX."

This incident highlights the importance of understanding and monitoring for DDoS attacks and ways to combat the risks + 

The University of Utah paid out more than £342k in ransom...

Following the news in July that 0.02% of the data on the University of Utah's servers was compromised by ransomware, including student and employee data, the university has confirmed they paid a ransom to disincentivise publication of the stolen data. The incident is still under investigation by the Information Security Office (ISO), but in the meantime, the University drew on its cyber insurance policy to pay part of the $450k+ fee. The ISO also forced all students, faculty, and staff members to update their passwords and exercise good password hygiene in an attempt to lessen the impact of the breach.

This incident highlights the importance of good password hygiene and regular systems monitoring +

Experian South Africa confirms Data Incident...

Experian South Africa has confirmed that it is investigating a "Data Incident" after data was transferred to an outside PC following a request. The request appeared to come from a legitimate client source but was later identified as a potential criminal suspect. Experian then obtained and executed an 'Anton Piller Order' against the suspect, resulting in the suspect's hardware being seized. 

This incident reminds us that human error is one of the biggest cyber threats we all face! Proper training and monitoring are essential +

The National Cyber Security Centre takes 300,000 URLs offline...

The NCSC has confirmed that in the first four months of lockdown, they took down more than 300,000 malicious URLs, many linking to fake celebrity-endorsed investment scams. Many of these scams were detected thanks to the launch of the Suspicious Email Reporting Service by the NCSC, which received 1.8million reports following its launch in April and was responsible for the identification of 16,800 of these malicious URLs.  

Read the full story +

The National Cyber Security Centre updates it's 'Exercise in a Box'...

The NCSC has updated its 'Exercise in a Box' suite to include a Home & Remote Working Exercise to support businesses. This is a really cool, easy-to-use tool that you can use to test your cyber resilience and practise the response to an attack, in a safe environment. We cannot recommend this and their other tools enough, so get going...!

Try the system +

Redcar & Cleveland Council quantifies impact at £10.4 million...

Back in February, Redcar & Cleveland Council fell victim to an extensive ransomware attack which compromised much of their system. More than 135,000 people were without access to online public services and the cost of the attack includes replacement equipment, security upgrades, lost resources, lower productivity and increased costs to clear the backlog. The Council this month revealed the estimated cost at over £10 million, after coming under pressure to reveal the extent of the breach.

British Dental Association members are targetted by hackers...

The bank account details of British Dentists were compromised through an attack on the British Dental Association, in a breach which also captured correspondence between the professional association and its members. The BDA revealed that the breach happened on the 30 July, and the BDA's website remained offline for several days. It is still being investigated whether patient data was also compromised, but the BDA confirmed that it was 'possible' this had also been breached. 

Carnival Cruises admits ransomware attack on its systems...

In a mandatory regulatory filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the British-American company Carnival Corporation & PLC revealed that it was subject to a ransomware attack on the 15 August. The subsequent investigation identified that the attack succeeded in accessing and encrypting some of the IT systems, as well as downloading some of the data. An investigation is ongoing.

British Trade Minister Liam Fox's email account was compromised by Russian hackers...

According to a report by Reuters, Liam Fox's email account was compromised through a spear-phishing attack, leading to the leak of sensitive US-UK trade documents. The documents were leaked just prior to the UK election in December, and it has now been revealed that they were stolen from the Trade Minister's email account. There is now an ongoing criminal investigation into the attack.

Uber's former Chief Security Officer has been charged with obstruction of justice after covering up a data breach...

Joseph Sullivan allegedly tried to cover up a major hack in 2016 that compromised the data of millions of Uber drivers and users. A criminal complaint has now been filed, charging Sullivan with obstruction of justice and misprision of a felony in connection with the cover-up. Those responsible for the 2016 hack have since admitted that they obtained a database with personal identifying information (PII) on 57 million Uber users and drivers, including the license plate numbers for 600,000 people who drove or formerly drove for the company. Rather than reporting the breach, Sullivan reportedly sought to pay off hackers through a bug bounty programme as well as paying $100,000 in Bitcoin in December 2016. 

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