Data Breach

Hacked Hospital Results in Patient Death

A hospital in Germany suffered a ransomware attack that resulted in the death of one of their patients. University Hospital of Düsseldorf Germany suffered a ransomware attack on September 9th. Hackers disabled hospital computers and caused emergency patients to be transferred to other hospitals. A female patient who was scheduled to receive a lifesaving treatment, had to be transferred to a neighboring hospital 20 miles away. German authorities are treating the incident as a negligent homicide.

This is the first recorded case of a death directly resulting from a malware attack. The BBC reports they had other near death incidents of critical care patients forced to be transferred from a hospital that had been attacked, but this was the first known death.

Phishing and malware attacks have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Hackers attack hospitals and medical facilities looking for sensitive personal and medical data. Hospital staff are under increased stress, and are more likely to click on something they would not normally click on, opening the doors for hackers to come in.

The hackers took advantage of well-known vulnerabilities in VPN software from Citrix. The software is used by government agencies, educational institutions, hospitals, and major corporations. Citrix patched the vulnerabilities in January, but not all businesses keep up on patching and updating. Germany’s national IT security group is assisting the hospital to recover from the incident and collect forensic data. When the hackers were informed of the outcome of their attack, they dropped the ransom and provided the decryption key before disappearing.

This is a tragic overlap of the stories we have been following all summer. We have seen malware attacks increase every month. We have seen attacks on small businesses and even cities who are often too small to keep an IT specialist on staff. Many of these businesses are large enough to house a server with client data, and a network of workstations, but are not able to support the technology after the initial investment. When vulnerabilities are found and patched, the news of these vulnerabilities is reported in the IT news industry. Hackers then go looking for computer systems that have not been updated and attempt to exploit these systems and data.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Small Business

More IT Security in the News

We have seen more IT Security news stories getting mainstream attention this summer. Below are the IT Security news events we are following at Quanexus.

Adobe Releases out of Schedule Patches After Flash Announcement

After we published our blog last week about the end of Flash, Adobe released a series of patches outside of their normal schedule. Read our previous blog here. Adobe patched Flash, as well as some of their professional tools against 18 known vulnerabilities. The programs affected were Adobe After Effects, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush and Audition. If you use any of these programs in the Adobe suite, be sure to update to the most recent version.

Zoom Adding More Security Defenses

The video conferencing software that has ruled during the pandemic lockdown is still catching up to its popularity. There have been multiple news stories of security breaches of Zoom meetings over the last six months while most employees and students have been working from home. Shortly after the term Zoom became part of the public lexicon, the term ‘Zoom-bombing’ did as well.

The most recent security update enables two-factor authentication (2FA) for all users, not just browser users and on September 27th, all Zoom meetings will require either a password or a waiting room. For reoccurring meetings that do not have either of these measures in place now, Zoom will add a waiting room to the meeting. If you already have one of these measures enabled on your meetings, there will be no change. You can read more about the security change here.

TikTok updates and US Buyer

TikTok is still in the news, and probably will continue to be in the near future. The attention is well deserved. TikTok skyrocketed in popularity in the US during the pandemic, and the parent company is the most valuable privately held company in the world.

TikTok patched vulnerabilities on the Android platform this week that could have given criminals the ability to take over user accounts. At the same time that news was breaking, Microsoft announced they would not be buying the social media company and released a statement emphasizing privacy and security.

“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation. We made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.” ~Microsoft – September 13, 2020

The winning bid is expected to go to California based Oracle.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Recent Posts, Small Business

City Government Compromised

Lafayette, a reminder of small business ransomware

2020 is becoming the year of ransomware; all available statistics are showing an increase in incidents month after month. We are seeing hacking events creep into the mainstream news cycle with huge companies like Twitter and Garmin. But a small city in Colorado is a reminder that hackers are not only targeting large corporations.

A city of 30,000 residents in Colorado is the latest reminder of the threat of ransomware in 2020. The city of Lafayette, Colorado suffered a ransomware attack late in July. They did not make the breach public until early in August. The hackers encrypted data, disabled phone systems, email systems, and bill paying systems. Like most cities this size, Lafayette did not have a cybersecurity professional on staff. After the breach occurred, the city government had to have specialists from Boulder come in to help with the clean-up.

With the support of larger city and state cybersecurity professionals, they determined the attack was either a result of a phishing attack, or a brute force attack. They were not able to recover the necessary data from backup to get the city back online. After analyzing the situation, and time it would take to re-build the databases, the city decided to pay the $45,000 ransom.

Due to the pandemic the city had recently cut back hours and furloughed some employees to cut back on spending this year.

“After a thorough examination of the situation and cost scenarios and considering the potential for lengthy inconvenient service outages for residents, we determined that obtaining the decryption tool far outweighed the cost and time to rebuild data and systems,” City of Lafayette Mayor, Jamie Harkins.

It sounds like Lafayette did follow many IT security guidelines. The Mayor says residents’ credit card data was not compromised because of the encryption they use in processing credit cards. She also mentioned residents’ personal data had not been compromised because it was not stored on the city’s databases. From the information publicly available, it sounds like the city was using practices of “least privileged” when storing resident data.

Lafayette is about the same size as the city Quanexus calls home. This is a real issue for moderately sized cities and businesses who are large enough to maintain computer systems and databases, but not large enough to keep IT security experts on staff. This is one of the primary roles Quanexus fills for many of our clients. If the increase in ransomware in the news has you thinking more about your IT security, please reach out to see if Quanexus could be a good fit for your business.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

Request your free network assessment today. There is no hassle, or obligation.

If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Recent Posts, Small Business

FBI Warning Vishing Attacks

Vishing AttacksFBI Warn of Increased Vishing Attacks

There is a new form of phishing being used against corporations, and it has gained the attention of the FBI. Vishing is a form of phishing using a phone call or Voice over IP (VoIP). This technique is yet another way hackers are taking advantage of employees working from home during the pandemic.

The increase in vishing attacks began in mid-July. Criminals registered domain names of companies they were interested in targeting. From there, they built fake VPN sites that looked similar to the target company’s own VPN login site. Hackers were also able to spoof phone numbers, so the number they were calling from appeared to come from within the corporation. The next step was to find an employee to target. Hackers went looking for information on social media sites and were able to find names and email addresses for employees of target companies.

Krebs on Security reported hackers would typically target new employees, and even create fake LinkedIn pages to gain their trust. Many of the attackers would pose as in-house IT helpdesk employees, convince a user they needed to use a different site for VPN access, and then ask for two-factor authentication (2FA) or one-time passwords (OTP) in order to help the new employee with a technical issue. Once the criminals gained access to the internal systems, they could basically move about freely. Hackers could collect customer data to be released later or encrypt data to be ransomed back to the company.

The FBI Cybersecurity Advisory does not list individual companies targeted, but many believe this is the method used in the recent Twitter hack. The FBI recommended some tips for companies including restricting VPN connections to managed devices only, and employing the principle of least privileged, where employees only have access to the data they need to do their job.

For employees the FBI report recommends checking web links carefully for misspellings. Bookmarking the correct VPN page, and do not deviate from that page. And being suspicious of unsolicited calls or emails asking for login credentials. Unfortunately new employees are likely not familiar with internal IT practices and norms.

Download the entire FBI report here.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

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If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Telephone Systems