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Sixty percent of respondents to the 2017 Black Hat survey believe that a successful cyber attack on U.S. critical infrastructure will occur in the next two years, reports Dark Reading.

Although the master decryption key has now been released for Petya, much like the WannaCry cyber attack, the malware attack moved quickly across the globe, once again demonstrating how vulnerable companies are to cyber-attack.

The second global attack in two months demonstrates that cybercriminals, malware, and ransomware in particular, are getting more sophisticated. This particular version of malware had the capability to spread laterally. In other words, it could use one set of credentials to access other places that those credentials worked, even bypassing systems with updated security patches.


"An atmosphere of vigilance and cybersecurity as a cultural norm within an organization is essential,” said Ostendio’s CEO, Grant Elliott.

“Otherwise, we face a situation where cybercriminals continually re-write the rules. That’s unacceptable.”


Top Tips to Combat Ransomware


  • Back-up data immediately and daily to an encrypted environment. Having clean data could salvage business operations.
  • Consider having IT and Cybersecurity personnel deploy group policy tools to help prevent otherwise vulnerable systems from becoming infected.
  • Step up access control when dealing with systems and sensitive data. Only people who absolutely need information should have the ability to access that data. Overly strict may be a misnomer.
  • Emergency alerts and security awareness training is not an over-reaction. Frequent training and reminders not to click (anti-phishing practices) are essential.
  • Ramp-up efforts to create your culture of cyber-security. Internalizing and evangelizing your cybersecurity culture could help to thwart attacks from human error.
  • Be suspicious of automatic reboots and “chkdsk” messages. If you see such, alert IT immediately.
  • As we have learnt from Petya, even regularly patched system can be vulnerable to ransomware, with “sleeper” tactics in practice. Pay close attention to every email source, every attachment, every link. Each one could contain malware.

Collaborating and sharing information about cyber crimes like Petya will help the healthcare industry improve their security practices. Operating in a silo and hiding cyber attacks only benefit cybercriminals, not the people whose data is compromised nor the organizations whose businesses are brought to a halt.

The 2017 Black Hat Attendee survey reveals that about two-thirds of respondents think it likely that their own organizations will have to respond to a major security breach in the next 12 months. Start putting processes in place now, and develop a culture of cybersecurity, to ensure that your organization is prepared for the changing tactics of cyber crime.

Post by Ostendio
July 7, 2017