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Cybersecurity News & Trends

There’s a lot of Industry News to report this week. First, the brief AWS outage almost felt like the one that Amazon suffered earlier this month. Then there’s the Log4j vulnerability that has the full attention of the entire cyber news community. Then, back to breaches and ransomware reporting, the big HR firm Kronos was hit by ransomware which may affect paycheck and timecard processing for several weeks. Plus, the declaration that 2021 is the year when cybersecurity was everyone’s business and analysis on America’s answer to the Russians to stop cyberattacks.


Industry News

AWS Runs into IT Problems. Briefly This Time.

The Register (UK): Amazon Web Services gave everyone a scare earlier in the week as it once again suffered a partial IT breakdown, briefly taking down a chunk of the web with it. If you found you could not use your favorite website or app during that time, this may have been why. Many feared another full-on AWS outage, as we saw earlier this month. After some delay, Amazon posted that its US-West-2 region was experiencing connectivity problems, then the outage appeared to move to other regions. But only ten minutes after the initial report, Amazon said they had worked out the root cause of the loss of connectivity to the regions, made some fixes, and was expecting a fast recovery. Complete recovery was reported within 30 minutes from the first sign of trouble.

Why The Web Is Losing Sleep Over the Log4j Vulnerability.

The Federal (India): Security pros say it’s one of the worst computer vulnerabilities they’ve ever seen. Others report that state-backed Chinese and Iranian hackers and rogue cryptocurrency miners have already seized on it. The Department of Homeland Security is sounding a dire alarm, ordering federal agencies to urgently eliminate the bug because it’s so easily exploitable — and telling those with public-facing networks to put up firewalls if they can’t be sure. The affected software is small and often undocumented. Detected in an extensively used utility called Log4j developed by Apache Software, it is a logging utility used by millions of apps, enterprises and other vital software. Logging is what allows developers to view the activities of an app. The flaw lets internet-based attackers quickly seize control of everything from industrial control systems to web servers and consumer electronics. Simply identifying which systems use the utility is a challenge; it is often hidden under other software layers.

Kronos Hit with Ransomware, Warns Paychecks Delayed ‘Several Weeks’.

ZD Net: HR management platform Kronos has been hit with a ransomware attack. The company revealed that hackers may have accessed information from many of its high-profile customers. UKG, Kronos’ parent company, said the vital service will be out for “several weeks” and urged customers to “evaluate and implement alternative business continuity protocols related to the affected UKG solutions.” In a statement to ZDNet, UKG said it “recently became aware of a ransomware incident that has disrupted the Kronos Private Cloud,” which they said, “houses solutions used by a limited number of our customers.” In other reporting by NPR and CNN, Kronos admitted that the attack could impact employee paychecks and timesheet processing for weeks.

Cox Discloses Data Breach After Hacker Impersonates Support Agent.

Bleeping Computer: Cox Communications has disclosed a data breach after a hacker impersonated a support agent to gain access to customers’ personal information. The company is a digital cable provider and telecommunication company that provides internet, television, and phone services throughout several regions in the US. This week, customers began receiving letters in the mail disclosing that Cox Communications learned on October 11th, 2021, that “unknown person(s)” impersonated a Cox support agent to access customer information.

Gravatar “Breach” Exposes Data of 100+ Million Users.

Search Engine Journal: A security site emailed notices of a data breach affecting over 100 million users of Gravatar. Gravatar denies that it was hacked, but the security alert company, named “HaveIBeenPwned,” notified users that hackers leaked the profile information of 114 million Gravatar users. They also reported that the leak was characterized as a data breach.

2021 Was the Year Cybersecurity Became Everyone’s Business.

Axios: We do not have to go very far to find evidence that cybersecurity has gone center stage. Diplomats, presidents and premiers have devoted quite a lot of time lately to quickly drafted mutual cybersecurity arrangements. In addition, the J.P. Morgan International Council identified cybersecurity as the most significant threat facing businesses and government. Many advisors and experts say that it will be challenging to reach a point where we can proclaim a permanent “win” in the battle against malicious attacks. The worry this year was that the world was on the losing end. Earlier this year, it clearly felt like the attackers had the upper hand. The combination of cryptocurrency and ransomware proved to be especially difficult. For one thing, victims tended to want to pay up rather than take the risk of data loss and disruption of their business. The rise in cyberattacks also made complex foreign relations far more complicated as the boundaries of interests blurred rules of engagement. In contrast, there are clear lines when allies are physically attacked. But in cyberspace, the divisions are no longer binary. Cyberattacks are personal – some deal with very private information – but they also expose liabilities such as who is responsible for investigation and recovery, and who is on tab for damages. But these attacks also eroded the trust that people have in markets, governments, resources and even national power. The cyberattacks prey on our weakest points; they sow distrust in information while they create confusion and exacerbate anxiety.

Six Months Later: Biden’s Warning to Russia About Cyber Attacks.

Washington Post: Six months ago, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a face-to-face meeting that he must rein in criminal ransomware hackers operating on Russian territory or face consequences. Since then, though, most researchers indicate that there’s been no reduction in the overall pace of ransomware attacks from Russia. This point is also supported by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). In that one proclamation, President Biden’s stern challenge to Russia was intended to punctuate international concern about attacks that have threatened gas and meat supplies and stoked global fear. But, six months later, is there any hope that behavior changed at all? Like everything else in these complicated times, the analysis depends on how you look at things. The US has launched several covert counter-cyber operations, and these alone may have been enough to taper the activities of some groups. The Justice Department recently clawed back more than $8 million in ransomware payments from hackers’ cryptocurrency accounts. DOJ was also successful in netting a few high-profile arrests and even caused one group to shut down their operations. The real and honest answer is that it’ll take much longer than we can see in six months. In the meantime, better security technology and improved user behavior, maybe there’s reason for hope in 2022.


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Ray Wyman Jr
Digital Content & SEO Manager
Ray Wyman Jr is the Digital Content & SEO Manager at SonicWall. He’s also an author and content creator specializing in tech and business management.
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