Each week we bring you the latest cyber attack news from around the globe. Some weeks we travel the globe, but this week we transcend it. Since the digital world has physical components but exists merely in numerals and ideas between spaces, so can cyber threats go beyond national (and even natural) boundaries.
This week’s recent cyber attacks will take you into the future—where advancements may be outpacing security.
Here is your cyber week in review.
The Digital Marketplace
If you have been as fascinated by the evolution of digital and non-government backed currencies as we have, you know about ICO’s (initial coin offering). They are a completely unregulated marketplace for the digital equivalent of an IPO (initial public offering).
Enigma marketplace (a decentralized platform that is preparing for an ICO) got hacked, with the attackers stealing nearly $500,000 in digital coin through a spoof campaign, disguised as a presale (with an altered website and spoofed emails sent to what appears to have been a legitimate mailing list).
Enigma itself did not lose any funds and took to Twitter to notify public of the attack. Users on Reddit pointed out basic security measures that could have prevented the attack, such as changing passwords and 2FA (2-factor authentication). Guess they do not teach you that at MIT.
Charities and Insecurities
In the UK this week, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport released a report outlining some of the security threats faced by charities and non-profits in the UK, but the data likely applies to other countries as well.
Research found that, even beyond the difficulties facing businesses to protect against cyber vulnerabilities and threats, charities and non-profits have some added challenges, including:
- The false perception that they are less at risk of attack than businesses
- Less internal resources than most businesses for cyber security
- Inadequate funds, and the right justification for funding, to outsource cyber security
- A lack of cyber insurance
- Inadequate or nonexistent training of volunteers and staff to protect against basic cyber attack methods and techniques
All of this is despite the fact that charities may have the exact same sensitive donor information on hand as a business does for its clients. The most current cyber attacks to sweep the globe hit governments, businesses, and NGOs alike. A virus does not skip a charity, and non-profits are just as likely to be specifically targeted as any other organization…which means that a major shift in perception and security is needed for UK (and other nation’s) charities.
Cracking a Cloud
Businesses and individuals alike are in love with cloud services. The accessibility of data, across shared devices and platforms—anywhere with an internet connection, the decreased start-up cost, without the need for huge hardware expenditure and constant upgrades, it all sounds amazing and remarkable.
And it is amazing in the cloud. It just is not any more secure than email, and so security should be comparable. A report from Microsoft reveals that recent cyber attacks against cloud-based user accounts increased three hundred percent. “The number of account sign-ins attempted from malicious IP addresses,” Microsoft’s blog reports, “has increased by 44 percent year over year in Q1-2017.”
What that means for individual users is that the security measures that should be routine, such as unique and strong passwords, are equally important to any cloud-based service. For companies and businesses it means that, while there are many advantages to cloud services, one must be as vigilant about protecting the cloud as you would be about protecting servers in your own office building.
Until next week: stay safe. Enjoy the headlines, but stay out of them.