Security expert Brian Krebs has provided an in-depth explanation of why the U.S. government is discouraging ransomware victims from paying their extortionists. “In its advisory (PDF), the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said “companies that facilitate ransomware payments to cyber actors on behalf of victims, including financial institutions, cyber insurance firms, and companiesContinue reading “Ransomware Victims That Pay Up Can Be Fined by Government”
The COVID pandemic has spurred the C-suite to recognize that ineffective health and safety protocols expose their people and their businesses to serious risk, according to a new article in Security Management Magazine. According to author Brian Phillips, CPP, PSP, “senior leadership is more concerned with physical security than ever before, advancing many security and risk professionals into a strategic position within the business.”
“While organizations should run risk assessments on a regular and ongoing basis,” he says, “most risk assessments tend to take place after a specific event or incident. COVID-19 has created a point in time where all companies must reevaluate their physical security program to factor in both current and future pandemic-level threats. If you haven’t already, it’s time to dust off those risk evaluations and take a serious look at your security posture.”
Read the full article: Three Steps to Avoid Security Theater.
The school year got off to a rocky start in Hartford, Connecticut this month. On top of all of the complications brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of the academic year was delayed because a ransomware attack hit the city, according to the Hartford Courant.
The system that provides real-time information on school bus routes was targeted, affecting the 4,000 students in the district who rely on buses to get to school.
The Courant reports that this unfortunately isn’t a rare phenomenon. Ransomware attacks in 2019 hit at least 89 school systems in the United States. This had wide ranging impacts — from surveillance systems going down to student grades being lost.
It’s back-to-school season, and even during the uncertainty of COVID-19, students across the United States are carrying out that age-old tradition of packing their belongings and dorm furniture and getting ready for that college move. It also starts the perennial parental and student concern: How safe and secure are college campuses?
Campuses are always hotbeds of security and safety threats. For instance, in 2018, there were 1,908 reported hate crimes at colleges nationally — based on data from 11,013 campuses — according to the U.S. Department of Education. They also report there were 44,567 arrests of all kinds on campuses that same year.
College sexual assault is a major safety concern. RAINN reports that 11.2 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault. This breaks down to 8.8 percent of female and 2.2 percent of male graduate students, respectively, and 23.1 percent of female and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students, respectively. About 4.2 percent of students have reported stalking.
The National Cyber Awareness System (NCAS), part of the Department of Homeland Security, is America’s first cohesive national cybersecurity system for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing emerging vulnerabilities and threats.
According to NCAS, identity theft is on the rise during this period of COVID-19. It provides these guidelines for minimizing your risk:
Do business with reputable companies – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established company. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious web sites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information. (See Avoiding Social Engineering for more information.)
Smartphones — over the past decade, they have become an indispensable tool of daily life. We use these pocket-size computers for everything. This has always made them a top target for cybercriminals.
Given that we use our phones for sensitive transactions, like online banking, or something seemingly more innocuous like social media, which can accidentally make our most private information vulnerable, it is important to stay safe when using your phone. Iovation reports that in 2019, 59 percent of “risky transactions” in North America transpired on mobile devices. They found that telecommunications is the industry that sees the most mobile fraud, at 75 percent. The previous year, gambling was the most targeted industry, at 60 percent.