This past week, Howard University had to cancel classes due to “unusual activity on the University’s network.” As a result, their Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) team shut down the school’s classes for the day to investigate the situation, which they identified as a ransomware attack. This ransomware attack brought to light the consideration of how deep and wide the net can be cast on any one entity. An incident like this forces us to pause and consider the range of data that could be compromised. A university or college is like a mini-city.
Recently, President Biden met with leaders in the private sector as well as those in education to discuss the need to address cybersecurity threats to the nation and efforts needed across the board. The increase in incidents and the ongoing threat of attack transcends all invisible borders that we put on humans or businesses. In other words, cybercriminals don’t care about your race, religion, income, or the industry that you work within. Data is valuable to them, and they will obtain it however is necessary. This meeting was held to unify efforts so that collectively we are fighting the battle against hackers with the hope of having a more significant impact. The outcome of the meeting was as follows…
We recently saw the mobile phone carrier T-Mobile fall victim to cybercriminal activity when a hacker accessed the personal data of their users. T-Mobile learned of the breach via claims that were made on an online forum. This breach led to an investigation and the hiring of cybersecurity experts to help with the situation. As a result of this breach, experts were hired at expert-level salaries to write press releases and create web pages with all the information users would need. Additionally, new customer service channels needed to be established to answer questions, and help with identity monitoring for all individuals affected, as well as much more.
Trends come and go, and keeping up with them when it comes to pop culture or fashion might be challenging, but when it comes to cybercrime, you'll likely never be ahead of the hackers. Their ability to adapt their tactics and tailor them to be more effective is constantly changing and challenging to keep educated on.
Recently, Barracuda released a report that reviewed data spanning from May 2020 through June 2021, which analyzed over 12 million email attacks at approximately 17,000 organizations. They discovered that these phishing attacks are increasing in complexity, and the old tactic of fighting them off with rules, blocked lists, or outdated policies is no longer working. The spam tactic of one hacker hitting many users at once is being refined to sophisticated criminal organizations which target with sometimes a single email.
As an Information Technology company, many think we look at the world through “tech-colored glasses.” In some regards, this is true, although we must view each of our clients with a different pair of “tech-colored glasses." One primary focus the majority of our Pendello clients need is to be compliant. There are a multitude of industries that are required to adhere to specific rules and regulations. The healthcare community that handles protected health information is one of those industries, but there is a great deal of confusion about being HIPAA compliant and cyber-secure. Let’s take a look at what being HIPAA compliant means regarding cybersecurity.
With school on the horizon, many of us are heading out on that final summer vacation. Whether you are visiting family, friends, the mountains, or the beach, be "shore" to travel with smart cyber habits that will keep you and your loved ones protected in ways that can't be fixed with that first aid kit that you stashed in the trunk.
Working remotely became a part of life for many of us over the past year, and one of the benefits of that setup is the flexibility it provides to travel more and work while on the road from different locations. Working remotely means that we have multiple devices that help us to get the job done from wherever we are. While it opens up many opportunities for you to see more of the world, it also opens up the door for cybercriminals to easily access your information.
Being on guard can be exhausting in any situation. Learning behaviors that can offset the risk of danger can help, but it isn’t always a failsafe solution. Such is the case with ransomware. You need to know the signs to look for when it comes to dangerous links in phishing emails, attachments that seem like they could be legitimate, or scams that direct you to a fraudulent webpage so that you can avoid potential catastrophe. This can be done via ongoing training programs and keep you constantly learning new approaches and tactics as they change (which is constantly!)