Security Breach Update
21 November 2019

Cybersecurity researchers are warning consumers of a new threat actorNew Threat Actor Impersonates Government Agencies

Cybersecurity researchers are warning consumers of a new threat actor impersonating government email accounts in the US and EU.

To date, researchers have discovered hoax emails from the US Postal Service, the German Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Italian Revenue Agency. The emails are delivering malicious payloads containing ransomware to a variety of recipients.

While researchers found that cybercriminals are targeting a broad audience with their messages, they concluded that most are heavily skewed toward businesses, which offer higher payouts and more robust data sets when attacks are successful.

Fortunately, malicious emails rely on user response, so businesses can protect themselves by training their employees to spot fraudulent emails. This particular attack might be new, but the strategy is well-established, and today’s employees need to be aware of the threats that are potentially lurking in their inboxes.

Recent Breaches

Australia – Monash IVF – IVF Clinic and fertility program

Exploit: Compromised email server

Risk to Small Business: Severe: Cybercriminals breached the Monash IVF’s email server, and they used their access to send malicious emails to patients. Since the company stores protected health information (PHI), there is concern about potential privacy violations resulting from the infiltration. To make matters worse, customers are complaining to the media, which will exacerbate the reputational damage that compounds the consequences of a data breach.

Risk to Exploited Individuals: Severe:  Since hackers have such intimate access to the company’s IT infrastructure, it’s possible that patient information was exposed. However, the fraudulent emails being sent to patients represent a more potent data security threat, as unsuspecting patients could unwittingly provide personal data or account credentials to bad actors. In response, every patient should be especially vigilant to assess the veracity of incoming messages, while also being scrupulous about the information that they provide in response to digital communications.

Customers Impacted: Unknown

Australia – Perth

Exploit: Compromised email account

Risk to Small Business: Severe:  Hackers cloned a Perth settlement agent’s email address, and they leveraged the vulnerability to scam consumers out of $70,000. Hackers simply changed one character in the email address before sending authentic-looking invoices to unsuspecting clients. At least two recipients thought the invoice was genuine, and they sent funds to the fraudulent account. As a result, the government is urging home and business buyers to be on high alert during the buying process. This problem will likely interrupt revenue-generating business activities, as the recovery effort will require both cybersecurity updates and reputation repair.

Risk to Exploited Individuals: Severe: Due to the personalized nature of this data breach, anyone conducting a personal or business real estate transaction is encouraged to be highly critical of digital funding requests. Perth officials are asking consumers to make a phone call verification of money requests and to be highly critical of digital communications from agents.

Customers Impacted:  Unknown

Being proactive in developing a cybersecurity plan can be the difference in successfully defending a breach or losing millions to a harmful attack.

Protect your data, privacy and reputation, talk to a TCT sales team member today.

Robert Brown
21/11/2019

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