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Thanksgiving: ‘Tis the season for a cyberattack

If we assume ransomware will get in this means we should place greater attention on being able to recover quickly without paying the ransom.

HSBC to exit US retail banking sector
HSBC had already announced earlier this year that it intended to restructure its US retail and small business operations - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Andrew Burton
HSBC had already announced earlier this year that it intended to restructure its US retail and small business operations - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Andrew Burton

Cybersecurity risks are becoming more sophisticated, and this includes focusing on specific events, often those that resonate with the public, targeted around public holidays.

A case in point is when the company Ferrara Candy Company (a subsidiary of the Ferrero Group) suffered a ransomware attack this month that led to delays for sweet (‘candy’) delivery leading up to Halloween.

With the attack, “Upon discovery, we immediately responded to secure all systems and commence an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident,” the sweet treat firm said in a statement. “Ferrara is cooperating with law enforcement and our technical team is working closely with third-party specialists to fully restore impacted systems as expeditiously and as safely as possible.”

However, what is more interesting is the form and timing of the cyberattack. With this particular attack, Gary Ogasawara, CTO, Cloudian explains that this type of attack shows that rogue actors are moving toward shaving specific firms in their site and they have a seasonal calendar in mind when planning their attacks.

Here v explains: “Cybercriminals are getting smarter about whom they target and when. For businesses that rely on certain seasons for a big portion of their sales, an attack like this could have a huge negative impact because of the limited time they have to recover.”

Not all of tech has caught onto the changing landscape. Ogasawara says: “Unfortunately, many security experts continue to focus on increased perimeter security and other traditional defenses as the solution, despite these measures having proven ineffective time and time again.”

This means a new way of working is needed, in the form of a “comprehensive cybersecurity strategy”. According to Ogasawara this is a strategy “That should assume that ransomware will get in and put greater attention on being able to recover quickly and easily without paying the ransom.”

As to what should be at the heart of a robust strategy, Ogasawara states: “The best way to ensure such recovery is having an immutable (unchangeable) data backup copy.”

In doing so, the Chief Technology Officer notes: “This prevents cybercriminals from altering or deleting the data, enabling victims to quickly restore an uninfected copy of their data and resume operations. In addition, data should be encrypted so that criminals can’t read or publish sensitive data in any intelligible form, thereby eliminating the other aspect of ransomware extortion.”

Ogasawara’s advice is timely as the next round of public holidays approaches, especially the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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