March 30 2021
Welcome to Tuesday’s tech news roundup – the place where we keep you up to date with the latest technology updates, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:
The United Nations has taken an official stance against nation-state attacks
Earlier this month, the UN announced its agreed expectations for responsible nation-state behaviour online; in other words, it took a vital step towards setting a global standard for cyber-activity.
This announcement couldn’t have come soon enough, as nation-state hacking is at an all-time high. We’ve seen a string of attacks targeting the non-profit, education, and healthcare sectors, a general rise in cyber-crime over the course of the pandemic, and the highly publicised Hafnium/Microsoft Exchange Server and Nobelium/SolarWinds hack that shook businesses throughout the globe. A lot of these incidents were down to nation-state actors, so this historic step was much-needed.
The UN’s statement focussed on the following:
- Elevating the authority of international law in cyber-space.
- Recognising the need to protect the healthcare sector specifically from cyber-attacks.
- Protecting the ICT supply chain.
Will this action stop nation-state actors in their tracks immediately? Probably not, but by recognising this issue in detail, the UN has taken a vital step forward in highlighting the importance of security online. Read more here.
The Hafnium breach: What’s next?
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a difficult year for businesses, but going into 2021, another challenge arose. Recently, it was revealed that Microsoft Exchange Server had experienced a data breach at the hands of Hafnium – a cyber-espionage group widely considered to be nation-state hackers based in China. The cyber-criminals were able to exploit a series of previously unknown vulnerabilities in order to steal and then publish login details.
This unfortunate situation exposed a quarter of a million servers worldwide, and 7,000 in the UK specifically, which led to other threat actors who had nothing to do with Hafnium using this data for nefarious means. Microsoft quickly released a patch for the issue, but many business owners are now wondering what to do next. If your organisation was affected and you’re wondering where to go from here, it’s best to look to the experts.
Read a more detailed overview of the situation, plus an in-depth action plan here.
Extortionware is on the rise
Incognito window aficionados beware – there’s been a serious rise in cyber-criminals using your sensitive information and private activities online to embarrass, blackmail, and extort you for money. Extortionware is on the rise and it’s devastating individuals, as well as having a serious knock-on effect on the businesses that employ them.
With this particular form of malware, reputation damage is the name of the game, but it’s all just about money in the end. Users are hacked and then threatened with the exposure of their adult video collection, private comms, embarrassing footage, or evidence of unprofessional/illegal behaviour. Cyber-criminals looking to score a big payday don’t just target individual users for a crack at their victims’ personal funds, threat actors are also going after high-level business decision makers and holding their private content to ransom in an attempt to extort the business that employs them. If you were faced with this dilemma, would you pay up or risk losing it all? Read more here.
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