by Ben Brown | 10/12/2022
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and this is a timely reminder that no business can afford to be without adequate protection against cyber-attacks. In this post, we are going to be looking at some recent cyber security 2022 headline breaches. Regardless of its size, no business, large or small, is safe from hackers and the recent large organisations that have reached the headlines due to breaches are a testament to that! We are also going to explore the misconception that small businesses are less likely to be a target of a cyber-attack. In fact, small businesses are just as much at risk as large ones when it comes to cybercrime.
Over the past year, there have been many instances of high-profile cyber-attacks. These are some of the most recent and notable headline breaches.
Ofgem Scam Email - August 2022 Using phishing email techniques, fraudsters posing as the energy regulator Ofgem have been duping people into handing over their personal information and payment details. Emails using the Ofgem branding claimed to offer the recipient an energy bill rebate. The unwitting recipients were then taken to a fake online portal, and once within this fake portal, the victims were asked to provide sensitive information in order to claim their refund. More than 1,500 reports have been made to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and 1,567 phishing emails related to this scam were reported via the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).
Covid Scams - Aug/September 2022 Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, there have been many email scams. These have ranged from scammers sending text messages asking you to order a test and pay a delivery fee, to sending texts stating that the recipient had been in contact with a person testing positive and asking you to go to a fake site to confirm your information. These scams have appeared both in the form of phishing emails and texts to people's mobile phones along with links to fake websites.
Red Cross Charity - January 2022 The sad fact is that even charities aren't safe from hackers and cybercrime. In January, the Red Cross https://www.icrc.org/en/document/cyber-attack-icrc-what-we-know reported that servers hosting personal data for more than 515,000 people, worldwide, had been hacked in a sophisticated cyber-attack. The hackers made use of considerable resources to access the systems and used tactics that most detection tools would have failed to pick up.
NHS 111 Ransomware Attack - August 2022 Advanced, which provides services for NHS 111 and patient records, confirmed it had been hit by a ransomware attack. The company was required to work with government agencies, including the National Cyber Security Centre and the Information Commissioner’s Office, in the aftermath of the incident to assess the potential damage caused. The ransomware attack caused widespread outages across the NHS and affected services including patient referrals, ambulance dispatch, out-of-hours appointment bookings, mental health services and emergency prescriptions.
Crypto.com - January 2022 Although Crypto.com has a secure transaction method, hackers were still able to bypass the company's authentication system. It is believed that the authentication system was 2-factor at the time of the hack. The hack resulted in 500 cryptocurrency wallets being penetrated, and the thieves stole $18 million in Bitcoin and $15 million in Ethereum.
The Works Retail Store - April 2022 The UK-based retail seller of books, crafts, and toys that operates 520 stores across the country reported a security breach of its computer systems. Thankfully, the attack did not allow access to any sensitive customer data. However, it did cause disruption by closing some of the retailer's stores and delaying stock resupply and online orders.
The British Army - Mar/Apr 2022 The British Army’s online recruitment portal was offline for more than a month following a data breach. The computerised enrolment recruitment system had to be shut down in the middle of March as a precaution after the personal data of more than 100 army recruits was found being offered for sale. Data reportedly exposed in the incident included full names, date of birth, address, qualifications, and previous employment details. A full investigation was launched but the recruitment portal was out of action for over a month.
LastPass Password Security Provider - August 2022 In August LastPass put out a notice that read "we detected some unusual activity within portions of the LastPass development environment. After initiating an immediate investigation, we have seen no evidence that this incident involved any access to customer data or encrypted password vaults. We have determined that an unauthorized party gained access to portions of the LastPass development environment through a single compromised developer account and took portions of source code and some proprietary LastPass technical information. Our products and services are operating normally."
A full investigation was completed, and it revealed that "the threat actor’s activity was limited to a four-day period in August 2022. During this timeframe, the LastPass security team detected the threat actor’s activity and then contained the incident. Our investigation determined that the threat actor gained access to the Development environment using a developer’s compromised endpoint. While the method used for the initial endpoint compromise is inconclusive, the threat actor utilized their persistent access to impersonate the developer once the developer had successfully authenticated using multi-factor authentication. Although the threat actor was able to access the Development environment, our system design and controls prevented the threat actor from accessing any customer data or encrypted password vaults."
The above attack just goes to show that without robust cyber security measures in place, which LastPass thankfully had, then the hackers that targeted this organisation would have been able to get much further into the company's systems and gain access to highly sensitive company and customer information. Therefore, it's so important for companies of all sizes to ensure that their company and customer information is fully protected with multi-layer protection measures in place.
Unfortunately, there are so many headline breaches the list could go on and on. However, what’s just as alarming is the number of smaller businesses that are now also being targeted.
Hacking is no longer something we can simply brush off as a computer crime that only affects large organisations. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of cyber-attacks that have hit small businesses just as hard as their larger counterparts. In fact, small businesses are actually more likely to be targeted by hackers because they often lack the robust security measures that larger organisations have in place. The simple fact is that many smaller company breaches go undetected for an extended period and cause in many cases irreparable damage.
The latest statistics published in the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2022/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2022, report that 48% of small businesses reported a cyber breach or attack of some kind within the last 12 months! This is a huge figure and one that is also bound to be actually higher as many small businesses don’t report the breaches. Small business owners need to be aware of these figures and ensure that they have cyber security protection solutions in place.
So, what can small businesses do to protect themselves? The first step is to educate yourself and your employees about the risks of cyber-attacks https://ronin-pentest.com/Blog/common-cyber-security-breaches. Be on the lookout for phishing emails, ransomware, and other malicious software that can wreak havoc on your business. Secondly, invest in a good cyber security solution from an outsourced cyber security provider who will help you to keep your data safe.
By taking these steps, you can help protect your small business https://ronin-pentest.com/services from becoming the next victim of a cyber-attack and in the next headline breaches list. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Contact us https://ronin-pentest.com/contact today and let us get your business protected.
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