Ukrainian Criminal Ransomware Group Brought Down by Authorities
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A ransomware gang, known as Clop, has been brought down by law enforcement due to a collaborated operation carried out by Ukraine, the United States, and South Korea. The Cyber Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine validated that 21 residential searches in Kyiv and regions close by resulted in the apprehension of six suspects. It is explained that accusations made against the actors consist of extorting victims twice by first demanding a ransom be paid and then by leaking stolen data if payment is not received.
The Ukraine police announced that the acts of malice were committed against American and South Korean servers. It is thought the cybercriminals have succeeded in extorting at least half a billion dollars from their victims. Organizations that are said to have been subjected to Clop’s illicit actions include large universities in Maryland, Florida, Colorado, and California. This bulk arrest is being referred to as the first apprehension of a ‘prolific hacking’ group victimizing Americans.
Law enforcement was able to seize computers, cash, and cars at the time their arrests were made on Clop affiliates. Clop was apparently able to achieve their goals through the exploitation of vulnerabilities found in File Transfer Appliance (FTA), which is a product designed by Accellion that allows users to share files. A deep website created by Clop contains the stolen information from the organizations that failed to comply with their ransom demands.
While authorities are glad to have several members of Clop in custody, they were confronted with limitations due to only approaching the cash and money laundering aspects of the crimes. Additionally, law enforcement does not feel confident that any of the masterminds of Clop were caught being that they are suspected to have residencies in Russia. Presidents Biden and Putin discussed cybersecurity during their Geneva meeting, and there are hopes Russia will enact stronger protocol to combat electronic crimes.
Disable Your Smart TV’s Ability to Watch You
Smart TVs allow you to watch your favorite shows, stream content, and download your favorite apps. What you may not realize though, is that a smart tv’s constant connection to the internet makes it just as vulnerable to hacks as a computer or phone. Hackers might see or hear you.
To avoid becoming the victim of an intrusive smart tv hack, refer to the protection tips listed below:
- Cover the Camera – Find out where the camera on your tv is located and block it thoroughly with tape or another thick object. If you are having trouble locating the camera, go to a video app to see yourself and cover different areas until you are no longer visible.
- Check Settings – Secure yourself and your family by turning off microphone and camera permissions in your settings. There are specific privacy settings on numerous smart TVs that allow you to manage things such as data usage and ad generation.
- Be Aware – Know what the security and privacy policies are for your smart tv. Be sure you understand the data that the smart tv manufacturer or app designers are allowed to collect. A task as simple as reading a manual can provide insight regarding what type of unexpected personal information might be shared.
- Accept Updates – If your smart tv gives you the option to receive software updates, you should sign up for them to keep security features up to date.
- Change Password – Change generic passwords to a strong, personalized one that cannot be easily guessed or determined.
If the risk of your smart tv being hacked is not alarming enough, keep in mind that other devices connected to the same router may be targeted too. Reduce the threat of encountering a cyberattack on your smart tv by taking action now.
Recovery Guidelines For a Hacked PSN Account
You just received notice that your credit card has been charged for purchases made on your PlayStation account, only you never ordered anything. You know that you need to act fast but are unsure what to do. Guidelines are described below to help you recover your PlayStation Network (PSN) account after it has been compromised.
- Change Your Password: The first thing you always want to do after your account has been accessed by someone else without authorization is change your password. If you used your PSN password to protect other accounts they should be updated also.
- Use Two Step Verification: Adding a secondary verification feature will mean that you are required to enter a code in addition to your password when logging in. Even if a hacker has your password, he/she will not be able to get into your account once this is activated.
- Contact Sony: Contact Sony support quickly to alert them your account has been broken into by someone who you did not give permission to.
- Disable Cards: Reach out to your financial institutions to have all of your linked credit and debit cards disabled. Blocking access to your accounts will prevent hackers from illegally taking your money.
- Kick Hackers Out: Take advantage of Sony’s security option to kick out a hacker during the recovery process. See the below steps to do this:
- Once logged in, click ‘account settings’
- On the left side of the screen, click ‘security’
- At the bottom, click ‘sign out of all devices’
- Click ‘ok’ to confirm this step
While it seems unlikely that a hack into your gaming system account would lead to much loss, hackers are able to steal your personal information such as address and bank account numbers. It is imperative you take action right away to minimize a hacker’s success.
Securing Your VPN Server
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) offer a great sense of security for individuals who need to connect to a system remotely. By using a VPN, a person can access an encrypted internet gateway without using his/her own private connection.
VPNs are known to be a secure method for entering databases from any desired location in alternative to traveling to the actual location where a computer is, like an office setting. Despite the positives though, VPN users still face security threats such as a personal device being accessed by a cybercriminal somehow.
To combat the risks associated with VPN use, refer to the below tips:
- Enforce Policies. Most data systems operating in a defined location have policies in place so that users can protect information. Transferring these policies to remote VPN users will remind them to take caution when using their devices. Developing and enforcing penalties for users who fail to abide by the policies will lead to increased compliance.
- Implement Strong Authentication. Authentication methods will vary for VPNs depending on its purpose, but using the strongest one available is the safest.
- Add Encryption. Adding encryption to your VPN will strengthen its defense against cybercrimes.
- Set Access Limitations. Limiting access to only the individuals who have a legitimate need to see and use particular data will allow easier monitoring. This will also lower the chances of information being exploited through a personal device.
- Include Other Features. If features are available that allow tasks to be done without connecting to the VPN, they should be utilized to reduce unnecessary access.
- Require Additional Protection. Require that VPN users install extra layers of protection to their devices such as firewall and antivirus software.
VPN servers can easily become the target of a cyberattack. Follow the tips listed above to avoid the consequences of having a vulnerable server.