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The Week in Breach News: 02/23/22 – 03/01/22

March 02, 2022

A wild tale of dueling cyberattacks at Nvidia, production hiccups for Toyota, two legal professional bodies are hit by cybercrime and 8 key takeaways from IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2022.

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State Bar of California

Exploit: Hacking

State Bar of California: Legal Professional & Regulatory Body

cybersecurity news represented by agauge showing severe risk

Risk to Business: 2.177= Severe

The State Bar of California is investigating a data breach after learning that a third-party website had published confidential information about 260,000 attorney discipline cases in California and other jurisdictions. The exposed data included case numbers, file dates, information about the types of cases and their statuses, respondent and complaining witness names. 

Individual Impact: No information about consumer/employee PII, PHI or financial data exposure was available at press time.

How It Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Sensitive data of this sort is a valuable commodity. This information could be used for blackmail, fraud, spear phishing, BEC and so much more nastiness.

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New York State Ethics Commission

Exploit: Hacking

New York State Ethics Commission: Regulatory Authority

cybersecurity news represented by a gauge indicating moderate risk

Risk to Business: 2.807=Moderate

New York’s ethics commission has shut down its online filing system after a cyberattack. The attack impacted several functions including a web server for the agency’s lobbying application and financial disclosure filing systems as well as other functions. The systems were taken offline late last week and will remain offline for the foreseeable future.

How It Could Affect Your Customers’ Business Losing the ability to process online applications, sales or requests could be a death knell for some businesses.

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Exploit: Ransomware

Nvidia: Graphics Processing Units (GPU) Manufacturer 

cybersecurity news represented by agauge showing severe risk

Risk to Business: 1.616 = Severe

Legendary graphics chipmaker Nvidia has been hit with ransomware that took several of the company’s functions down for days, including internal email and developer tools. Ransomware group Lapsus$ is claiming responsibility. The group claims to have some 1TB of Nvidia threatening to leak it if Nvidia doesn’t pay an unspecified sum. In a highly unusual turn of events, a few days later, Lapsus$ took to the web to indignantly complain that Nvidia had hacked them in return, encrypting the data that Lapsus$ had snatched. The group says they have backups, and they’ll start publishing Nvidia’s data soon.  

Individual Impact: No information about consumer/employee PII, PHI or financial data exposure was available at press time.

How It Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Cybercriminals are having a field day attacking supply chain targets in the hope of scoring a big payday fast from an organization with no time to lose.

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Bridgestone Americas 

Exploit: Hacking

Bridgestone Americas: Tire Manufacturer 

cybersecurity news gauge indicating extreme risk

Risk to Business: 1.414 = Extreme

Bridgestone is shutting down production at its factories around the US as the company deals with an unspecified cybersecurity incident. The company released a statement saying that it was immediately disconnecting and pausing production at factories in the US and Latin America, with no projected timeline for reopening provided to employees.

Individual Impact: No information about consumer/employee PII, PHI or financial data exposure was available at press time.

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business Supply chain disruption has been the name of the game for cybercriminals and tires are an important part of most supply chains.

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France – Melijoe

Exploit: Misconfiguration

Melijoe: Luxury Children’s Clothier 

cybersecurity news represented by a gauge indicating moderate risk

Risk to Business: 2.771=Moderate

An Amazon S3 bucket that belonged to French kids’ fashion retailer Melijoe was left accessible on the web with no authentication controls in place, exposing the sensitive and personal data of potentially hundreds of thousands of customers. The bucket has exposed almost 2 million files, totaling around 200 GB of data, including wish lists, purchases, preferences and other customer data. 

cybersecurity news represented by a gauge indicating moderate risk

Risk to Individual: 2.822=Moderate

The Preferences dataset exposed forms of customer PII and sensitive customer data, including email addresses, names of children, genders, dates of birth, preferences of brands. Other datasets included SKUs of purchased items, payment type (but not payment card or bank information), order dates and delivery preferences.  

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business Cybercriminals are always hunting for personal data, and Retail has been one of the hardest-hit sectors in terms of data breaches.

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Sweden – Axis 

Exploit: Hacking

Axis: Camera Manufacturer 

cybersecurity news represented by agauge showing severe risk

Risk to Business: 1.719 = Severe

Axis has shut down all of its public-facing services in response to alerts from its cybersecurity and intrusion detection system on Sunday, the company said in a statement. Axis said that its Case Insight tool in the US and the Camera Station License System were dealing with partial outages as well as Device Manager Extend Device upgrades for OS and apps. The incident is under investigation and services are expected to be restored quickly.  

Individual Impact: No information about consumer/employee PII, PHI or financial data exposure was available at press time.

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business Cloud-hosted services and data have become very attractive for hackers, with cloud data breaches up by 30% in 2021.

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Taiwan – Asustor NAS

Exploit: Ransomware

Asustor NAS: Computer Hardware Developer 

cybersecurity news gauge indicating extreme risk

Risk to Business: 1.231 = Extreme

Owners of Asustor NAS drives have discovered that their devices have been hit by DeadBolt ransomware. Users were greeted with a message from the DeadBolt ransomware attempting to extort 0.03 bitcoins (approximately US $1140 at current exchange rates) for the promised release of a decryption key that would allow users to access their data. Asustor is investigating the matter and in the meantime, the company has disabled functionality which can allow remote access to its NAS drives: ASUSTOR EZ-Connect, ASUSTOR EZ Sync, and  

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business There’s a creepy ransomware trend brewing in which cybercriminals approach the people whose records they stole or encrypted, not the business that had the records.

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Japan – Toyota

Exploit: Third-Party Risk

Toyota: Automobile Manufacturer

cybersecurity news represented by agauge showing severe risk

Risk to Business: 1.892 = Severe

Toyota announced that it is shutting down its domestic factory operations briefly after a cyberattack at a supplier. The supplier, Kojima Industries Corp, has admitted to being attacked but offered no further information. It was not made clear how long Toyota’s Japanese factories, which total one-third of its production yearly, will be closed.   

No information about consumer/employee PII, PHI or financial data exposure was available at press time.

How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business This is the exact scenario cybercriminals want to make quick moneywhen they attack small suppliers of large corporations and shut down production lines.

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1 – 1.5 = Extreme Risk

1.51 – 2.49 = Severe Risk

2.5 – 3 = Moderate Risk

Risk scores for The Week in Breach are calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.

Go Inside the Ink to see how today’s biggest threats can impact your MSP and your customers in our blog.

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These Resources Will Help You Start Your Spring Off Strong!

Are Your Users Trained to Handle These Risks? Give this checklist to your clients to help them determine if their security awareness training program is getting the job done or not (and discover that they might need a new one). GET THE CHECKLIST>>

5 Thorny Remote and Hybrid Security Problems Solved – Remote security poses its own set of challenges. This infographic will give you solutions for 5 vexing remote security problems. DOWNLOAD IT>>

MSP Think Tank – See what Ian Luckett, of IT Experts, thinks will be the big hitters for MSPs to boost their operations this year and increase their MRR. WATCH NOW>> 

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See how cyber insurance is changing and how to protect your clients from trouble. WATCH NOW>>

Key Takeaways from IBM’s X-Force Threat Index 2022

Phishing, Ransomware and BEC Trends You Need to Know About

Every year IBM releases a flood of extremely useful data from its in-house team of cybersecurity experts and remediators. The data provided gives an excellent snapshot of what’s influencing current cybercrime trends, how new cybercrime trends are forming and what might be next. The X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2022 was recently released, and we combed through it to find the most interesting and informative takeaways for MSPs and their clients.  

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Phishing Still Wins 

Phishing is still the most likely way for cybercriminals to penetrate security at organizations. It actually became more prominent in 2021, with just over 40% of intrusions facilitated through phishing. Vulnerabilities came in second, with little change from 2020. The drop from there is steep though. The real surprise is the decline of stolen credentials, the culprit in half as many attacks in 2021 as the year before. The report speculates that this could be the result of a more widespread adoption of identity and access management.  

The Top Intrusion Vectors of 2021 

Phishing 41% 33% 
Vulnerability exploitation 34% 35%
Stolen credentials 9% 18%
Brute force 6% 4%
Remote desktop 6% 4% 
Removable media0%1%
Password spraying1% 0% 

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 Spoofing Surged

If you thought phishing seemed unusually heavy last year, you were right. In fact, the Anti Phishing Work Group (APWG) noted that June 2021 set an all-time record high with 222,127 phishing attacks that month alone. Brand fraud/spoofing was 15 times higher in 2021 than in 2020. However, cybercriminals didn’t really vary their playbook. Catching unsuspecting users in a phishing trap using a spoofed message is always a winner for them, and they did plenty of that in 2021. The top 3 brands that X-Force saw spoofed in 2021 were Microsoft, Apple and Google.  

Top 11 Most Spoofed Brands of 2021  

1. Microsoft  

2. Apple  

3. Google  

4. BMO Harris Bank (BMO)  

5. Chase 

 6. Amazon  

7. Dropbox  

8. DHL  

9. CNN  

10. Hotmail  

11. Facebook 

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Two More Interesting Phishing Observations

Phishing + Phone Calls = Winning 

In an unexpected twist, combining modern phishing techniques with an old-school tool was a shockingly effective ploy, garnering cybercriminals impressive results (and making it clear that businesses need to be alert to this trend. When conducting social engineering penetration testing attacks through phishing emails, one little addition made them three times more effective: a phone call. That’s right. The click rate for the average targeted phishing campaign that IBM’s testers ran in 2021 clocked in at 17.8%, but targeted phishing campaigns that added phone calls (vishing or voice phishing) snagged that all-important click from a whopping 53.2% of victims.  

Phishers Always Want Passwords 

Of course, what the bad guys want the most when they’re phishing hasn’t changed. Universally, they want passwords. In phishing kits IBM analysts observed from a variety of sources, user credentials (email/ID/password combinations) were the most commonly requested information, appearing in 100% of kits. That’s followed by credit card information (61%), mailing addresses (40%), phone numbers (22%), date of birth data (17%), identity card numbers (15%), security questions (14%) and ATM PINs (3%). 

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Ransomware Still Rules the Roost  

Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. For the third year running, ransomware is still the king of cyberattacks. It’s the top attack type that businesses faced in 2021. The bright spot? The percentage of ransomware attacks that were remediated was down 9% from 2020. About one-fifth (21%) of all cyberattacks X-Force saw were ransomware attacks, just slightly down from 2020’s 23%. However, the report cautions that the volume of ransomware attacks has remained steady year over year. 

But It Has an Off-Season 

This isn’t much of a surprise to anyone. In a recent survey, 90% of IT pros had seen an uptick in ransomware attacks on companies that they’re responsible for. What is interesting is observing the pattern of ransomware attacks through a seasonal lens. Ransomware practitioners seem to prefer Q2 for their operations, but they’re not shy about doing some early holiday shopping in October; 25% of last year’s attacks happened then. Perhaps they vacation in August and just like everyone else, cybercriminals are sluggish in January – January and August were attack-free.

Ransomware Attacks by Month

January 0% 6% 
February 27%27% 
March 30%36% 
April  19%13%
May 36% 30%
August0% 35%
September 10%6% 
October 25%15% 
November  5% 33%
December 14%29%

This report included speculation on why 2021’s pattern may have progressed in this fashion. In 2021, there were big drops in ransomware activity in July and November when compared to the previous year. Analysts theorized that the shift could have been caused by a crackdown on ransomware operations in those months in 2021. Several major groups were shut down either permanently or temporarily in May, June and October 2021: DarkSide and Babuk in May, Avaddon in June, and REvil in October. 

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BEC is On The Move

Although the US Federal Bureau of Investigation rated them 64X as dangerous as a ransomware attack, 2021 was not a prolific year for business email compromise (BEC) attacks. This attack type had a downturn in 2020 and continued that trend in 2021. While still hanging on to the third-place spot, BEC has been in a slide. IBM analysts suspect that is the result of more widespread adoption of 2FA or MFA. That’s bolstered by a shift in geography for BEC attacks to places where MFA is less likely to be in general use. In one cited example, zero percent of attacks against Latin American organizations were BEC in 2019, but 19% of attacks were BEC in 2020 and 20% of attacks in 2021 were BEC. 

BEC by Region  % of Total Incidents
Latin America   20.6
North America 11.6
Europe 5.9
Asia 4.3 
Middle East & Africa   0.0

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Cybercrime Remains Relentless 

It’s easy to see that businesses won’t be seeing a decrease in cybercrime anytime soon, with surging risk in several areas like cryptomining, supply chain risk, social media phishing and more up-and-coming attack vectors. That means that the pressure that organizations face on their security will just keep ratcheting up in 2022 – and you need to have the right combination of solutions to offer your clients to keep them out of trouble. ID Agent can help. 

BullPhish ID – Our newly retooled solution for security awareness, phishing and compliance training features a ton of new content to make sure that you’re training around the latest risks and requirements like ransomware, CMMC, GDPR data handling and more. 

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 Are You Ready for 2022’s Biggest Threats?

The 2022 threat environment is heating up! New research by IBM shows that Q2 is the time that cybercriminals prefer to strike with devastating cyberattacks like ransomware. Is your security up to the test? 

The right array of security solutions, a consistent security awareness training program and a strong security culture are three important building blocks that support every company’s defense against cybercrime. But not having one of those pillars in place can leave a dangerous vulnerability in your defenses. 

To avoid trouble later now is the time to review your security plan and consult with your trusted security experts to make sure that you have everything that you need in place to keep your business safe as the high season for cybercrime begins.

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