Johannesburg has been hit with a ransomware attack that is crippling municipal services. City Power, an electric utility owned by the city that was hit by a similar attack in July - also was affected by the latest attack.
Ransomware is once again the most common illicit profit-making tool in online attackers' arsenal, police warn. Security firm Emsisoft says the most-seen strains in recent months include STOP, Dharma .cezar, Phobos, GlobeImposter 2.0 and Sodinokibi. Less widely seen Ryuk also continues to generate big profits.
Pitney Bowes says it was infected by file-encrypting malware that has affected online accounts and mailing products but that client data doesn't appear to be at risk. The postage meter maker says "all options" are being considered for recovery, meaning that it could pay a ransom.
Organizations must take a number of critical steps to prepare a response to ransomware attacks before they hit, says Caleb Barlow, the new president and CEO of security consulting firm CynergisTek, who offers a guide.
More than 600 ransomware attacks pummelled local governments, schools districts and healthcare providers across the U.S. in the first three quarters of this year, according to a study by security firm Emsisoft. Meanwhile, the FBI this week issued a fresh warning about the threat.
Medical facilities and hospitals across the state of Victoria in Australia were infected by file-encrypting ransomware on Monday, causing the shutdown of patient booking systems and financial systems. At least one hospital has reverted to using paper-based systems.
"Cyberattacks are one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today," reads gaming company Zynga's data breach notification, thus breaking the first rule of crisis management: Own your mistakes. Hacker Gnosticplayers claims the company was still storing passwords using outdated SHA1.
The city of Baltimore's ransomware outbreak - $18 million in costs and counting - led to many crypto-locked files being lost forever, because no IT policy mandated centralized file backups. But effective IT solutions exist to help solve this challenge, provided they're deployed in advance of an attack.
A ransomware attack late last week on a county hospital in rural Wyoming was still causing patient care disruptions on Monday. Some patients were sent more than 125 miles away to other area hospitals for treatment.
Ransomware-wielding attackers treat infecting endpoints as a business and put customer relationship management principles to work, says Bill Siegel, CEO of ransomware incident response firm Coveware. He notes criminals "go after the low-hanging fruit because it's cheap and the conversion rate is high."
The ransomware blitz against the healthcare sector continues: A Utah clinic has reported an attack that potentially affected 320,000 patients, making it one of the largest breaches of its kind so far this year.
Earlier this year, intruders probed weaknesses in the network firewalls of a U.S. power utility to attempt a distributed denial-of-service attack, but there was no disruption in electricity service, according a recently released report. The incident illustrates potential weaknesses in the power grid.
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