April 15 2021
Welcome to Thursday’s tech news roundup – this is the place where we keep you up to date with the latest technology updates, cybersecurity news, and more. Today, we’ve got a US news special, where all of the biggest stories pertain to technology and cybersecurity issues affecting American organisations and politics. Read on for updates:
500GB of data has been stolen from the Houston Rockets following a ransomware attack on the NBA
It looks like the Babuk hacking group isn’t a fan of basketball; they recently claimed responsibility for targeting the NBA, stealing a hefty chunky of data from a Houston basketball team. Babuk is a pretty new ransomware group, but they’re already making a name for themselves with bold attacks like this. While they weren’t able to install ransomware throughout all of the Rockets’ systems, there were some cracks in the team’s system security that the hackers were able to slip through.
Thankfully, this attack didn’t a complete takeover of the Rockets’ systems or a massive disruption in their operations, but the basketball team didn’t get through this event scot free. While infiltrating the team’s systems, Babuk were able to steal 500GB of data, including player contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and confidential financial data. They are now threatening to publish the stolen info if the Rockets don’t pay up – a move that’s becoming more and more common with ransomware gangs.
Serious sanctions are on the table for Russia – is the US issuing payback for the SolarWinds hack?
While the SolarWinds hack hasn’t officially been attributed to any hacking gang or nation state sponsored group, US politicians and security experts have pointed the finger squarely at Russia. The White House is now taking things one step further, and is set to impose a wide range of sanctions against the Kremlin. This includes targeting over 30 Russian organisations, and deporting more than 10 individuals from US soil.
President Biden has already stated he’ll “respond firmly” to further cyber-attacks believed to be from Russia. Not only does SolarWinds come into play here – an attack that devastated US businesses and exposed data belonging to the US Treasury and Justice Department – but intelligence officials also feel Russian hackers were working on Putin’s orders when meddling in the 2020 election. US-Russia relations have never been particularly warm, but it’s looking like things are set to get even colder going forward. Read more here.
The FBI’s security division has been very busy lately…
To round off today’s US-centric news roundup, we’ve got a couple of stories concerning the FBI. The first headline is that the FBI’s security division partnered with an external firm (based in Australia) to gain access to an iPhone in 2015. The phone belonged to Syed Farook, otherwise known as the San Bernardino shooter. It’s well known that Apple doesn’t co-operate with governments who request access to people’s phones, so the FBI went around this by getting hackers to break in. Details of this situation have only just been revealed, and you can read more here.
Speaking of the FBI hacking into people’s devices without permission, we’ve got the much more up to date story of the Microsoft Exchange Server hack. The Hafnium hacking group affected tens of thousands of Microsoft customers via a vulnerability in the tech giant’s Exchange Server, causing devastation throughout the US and beyond. While many businesses have patched the issue and are now on the road to recovery, the FBI is taking a more active role in sorting out the problem: they’re protecting computers infected by Hafnium by hacking them itself. Interestingly enough, the FBI is using Hafnium’s own tools to do it, their experts are doing it remotely, and the majority of the people who own these infected devices will have no idea that they’re doing it. Read more here.
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