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The year 2018, brought lots of massive data breaches, ransomware in the cloud, weaponisation of artificial intelligence. A data breach occurs when a malicious actor gains unauthorised access to data. On the 25th of September, Facebook experienced a massive data breach that affected almost 50 million users. Equifax lost 145. 5 million to a data breach. Under Amour, lost 150 million in March, Yahoo lost 3 billion. Another significant cyber threat that is on the uprise this year is Ransomware. It is a Denial of service attack that uses malware to prevent authorised users, access to their system or files. It is executed by locking the system’s screen or by encrypting the users’ files until a ransom is paid. In March 2018, Atlanta, one of USA’s biggest city, was hit by a Ransomware attack that crippled the states online network for five days while requesting for a $50, 000 ransom. Ransomware has spread to the cloud network such that files that are stored on the cloud are encrypted, and its users cannot access them. The only way around this is to ensure regular offsite backup.
Notpetya. Another very massive cyber ransomware attack that brought over 300 companies in Ukraine to its’ kneel and almost half of Russia too. Giant multinational companies including Maersk, pharmaceutical giant Merck, FedEx’s European subsidiary TNT Express, French construction company Saint-Gobain, food producer Mondelēz, and manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, even banks and hospitals were not left out. The malware that was deployed into the Ukrainian network irreversibly encrypts any device it infects. NotPetya was made with the combination of a powerful penetration tool called Eternal Blue and Mimikatz. Eternal Blue was created by the US National Security but was exposed to a significant data breach earlier in the year.
EternalBlue exploits the vulnerability in a particular Windows protocol, allowing hackers free access to remotely run their code on an unpatched machine. Eternal Blue was used in combination with an old invention called Mimikatz, which was created by a white hat researcher to prove that windows, left users passwords in the RAM. Therefore, once a hacker gains initial access to the system using EternalBlue, then Mimikatz is used to pull password out of the RAM and uses the information to hack other machines with the same credentials. Microsoft has released an upgrade that covered that EternalBlue vulnerability before NotPetya’s attack. Notpetya’s aim was purely ruinous. It irreversibly encrypts computers’ master boot records which is the part of the computer that shows it where to load its operating system. It is still the fastest automated propagating malware till date. The resulting loss from this attack exceeds $10 billion.
In February, classified information about users of Cloudflare was leaked, whiles, in May, internal campaign emails of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron were exposed just a few days to the election. Therefore, with the dramatic incline in the number of threats, how are the sensitive data held by organisations such as financial institutions, IT technological organisations and others, kept secure? The answer is Management.
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