FILE PHOTO: A hacker, who asked not to have his name revealed, works on his laptop in his office in Taipei July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang/File Photo


Ransom payouts to online hackers hit a 178% increase in the third quarter of 2020, with around £234,000 being paid out to hackers compared to £63,000 in 2019. These types of hacks are known as Ransomware, in which a hacker or group of hackers use malicious software to seize online assets and demand ransom payment under the threat of publishing confidential files. Cybersecurity experts attribute the coronavirus pandemic to the dramatic shift in ransomware attacks, due to the large number of companies shifting their business to the internet.

The NSA warned that Russian hackers are able to exploit flaws in software made by American company VMware Inc., advising urging national security, defense systems and defense contractors to take extra precautions to avoid exposing sensitive data to hackers. This development comes after the NSA recently warned that Iranian hackers were increasingly becoming a more sophisticated threat to U.S. cybersecurity, stating the regime was capable of “cyber-enabled kinetic attacks.”

Mohamed al-Kuwaiti, the United Arab Emirates’ top cybersecurity chief, warns that the Middle East is dealing with a “cyber pandemic” in the midst of vulnerabilities caused by COVID-19. “As we moved into a full online life, we saw a huge increase in many of those attacks,” he stated, citing that there has been a 250% increase in cyber attacks this year.

A hacking group known as Black Shadow released sensitive information stolen from Israeli insurance company Shirbit, such as employees’ vehicle registration and credit card details. If the group’s demand for ransom was not met on Friday, the hackers stated the ransom would rise from 50 to 100 bitcoins after 9 a.m. Friday and 200 after 9 a.m. Saturday, roughly worth over $3.8 million. The hackers published the stolen information after Shirbit refused to pay the ransom.


NSA warns of Russian government-backed hackers aiming at US defense sector targets – CyberScoop – 12/7/2020
“This cybersecurity advisory is provided as part of NSA’s mission to provide timely, relevant and actionable cybersecurity guidance to our partners in the Department of Defense, National Security Systems, and the Defense Industrial Base,” Neal Ziring, the Technical Director of the NSA Cybersecurity Directorate, said in a statement. “Any organization who uses the affected products should take prompt action to apply the vendor released patch.”

Hackers leak data from Embraer, world’s third-largest airplane maker – ZDNet – 12/7/2020
Today’s leak confirms that hackers managed to steal data from the company’s servers. Embraer issued a press release last week, admitting to a security breach, but did not confirm that the incident involved neither ransomware nor data theft. The airplane maker said the attackers had “access to only a single environment,” and that the incident caused only a temporary impact on “some of its operations.” An Embraer spokesperson did not return a request for comment sent by ZDNet today, following the leak.

Coronavirus vaccine rollout is hackers dream: Top five scams in the works – Fox Business – 12/7/2020
Bad actors have largely benefited from the mass shift to online business operations, health care and general communication, amid the pandemic, and they will continue to benefit from work-from-home tools and pandemic-related technology into 2021, Experian’s annual data breach industry forecast.


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