Online threats are becoming more and more serious, says threat analyst

A threat analyst says online hacking is growing more serious - even over the last half of 2019.

“These incidents have become much more serious in recent months: some ransomware groups no longer simply encrypt data, they steal a copy of it too and use the threat of its release as additional leverage to get the victim to pay,” says Brett Callow with Emsisoft.

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“This is what’s currently happening to Travelex, as you may have seen in the news.”

Callow notes it also happened to the City of Pensacola.

“Two GBs of their data was published on the clear web.”:

Callow says the Emsisoft was on the matter prior to many of the more recent online attacks and hacks.

“We actually released a report warning about the increased risk last month. It was aimed at the US public sector, but applies on this side of the border too,” Callow says.

“We have, however, decided to release it immediately due to a recent incident in which a ransomware attack may have resulted in a municipal government’s data falling into the hands of cybercriminals,” he says. 

“We believe this development elevates the ransomware threat to crisis level and that governments must act immediately to improve their security and mitigate risks. If they do not, it is likely that similar incidents will also result in the extremely sensitive information which governments hold being stolen and leaked.”

The report also looks at why these attacks are succeeding, which is mostly due governments having poor security.

“To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Dawson’s data was stolen, simply that data theft is now a real risk in ransomware incidents. Both the public and private sectors need to up their game. When data gets stolen, things like this happen,” notes Callow.

“On a positive note, one of the data-stealing ransomware groups has a website where it publishes the names of its victims (and eventually their data) and Dawson insn’t listed yet.

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