March 22 2021
Happy Monday! Welcome to today’s news overview – where we keep you up to date on the latest technology updates, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:
Acer has reportedly been hit with $50 million ransomware demand
Another organisation finds itself in deep trouble as a result of the Microsoft Exchange vulnerability. This time, Taiwanese computer manufacturing giant Acer is being held to ransom by a hacking group. According to reports, REvil wants Acer to cough up a gigantic $50 million – one of the biggest ransomware demands so far. If that name rings a bell, it’s because REvil was the group that attacked Travelex last year, and it seems they’re showing no chance of slowing down.
The organisation has until March 28th to supply the money, or REvil is going to leak all the data that the group claims to have acquired. An Acer representative was a bit guarded with the details, but had this to say to the press: “Acer routinely monitors its IT systems, and most cyberattacks are well defended against. Companies like us are constantly under attack, and we have reported recent abnormal situations observed to the relevant law enforcement and data protection authorities in multiple countries.” Read more here.
A Tesla hack co-conspirator has pleaded guilty to the ransomware plot
Egor Igorevich Kruichkov was accused of offering a Tesla employee $1 million to sneak a little bit of ransomware into Tesla’s computer network – and he’s just pleaded guilty. This million dollar “investment” would have multiplied many times over if the accused was able to carry out his plan, which was to use the ransomware to extort the business and steal Tesla’s corporate data.
Mr Kruichkov was only in the US for just over a month, on a tourist visa last summer, but once he arrived, he quickly got to work with his plan. His attempt to recruit a Tesla employee with the offer of riches fell short though, when the employee reported the plot to Tesla, who then contacted the FBI. Such loyalty from a member of the Tesla team has got us thinking that Elon Musk’s employee benefits scheme must be out of this world.
The 27 year old didn’t work alone; in fact, he was acting on behalf of criminals abroad, and far from being a tech genius himself, he attempted to bribe the Tesla employee in person. Things got even more dramatic when Kriuchkov told the courts that the Russian government was well aware of the planned attack – although the FBI haven’t really acted on this claim. Kriuchkov surely will be seeing the consequences though – at least 10 months in prison. Read more here.
An NHS boss’s Twitter accounts were hacked by PS5 scammers
Helen Bevan is a high-ranking NHS boss who was recently unlucky enough to have her social media accounts hijacked by cyber-criminals. Her two Twitter accounts – totalling 140,000 followers in all, were stolen and used as part of a scam. Similar to the great Twitter hack that occurred last summer, these hackers seized her accounts and started promoting sales of the coveted PlayStation 5.
Why would you buy a PS5 from NHS Horizons’ Chief Transformation Officer? Obviously you wouldn’t, but the scammers were smart enough to switch all of the account’s display info to make it look more legit. Thankfully Ms Bevan now has her accounts back, but not after the fraudsters were able to trick several people into parting with their money. Ms Bevan lost a bit of coin also – she paid money to someone who offered to help her get her account back, but that person turned out to be a scammer as well!
Bevan sees this unfortunate situation as a teachable moment for herself when it comes to 2FA and is also hoping her negative experience will encourage other people to take security more seriously when using social media, and be weary of scammers online. Read more here.
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