The FBI and CISA Urge Organizations to be Prepared for Cyberattacks Over the Holiday Weekend

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issue a statement, urging organizations to be diligent in prepare for this upcoming holiday weekend. There have been an increase of highly impactful ransomware attacks occurring over holiday weekends. Recall the Kaseya breach during the Fourth of July weekend—the largest ransomware attach affecting thousands of businesses; the attack on the Arabian oil company during a Muslim holiday, Eid ul-Adha, this past July. In May 2021, over the Memorial Day weekend, “critical infrastructure entity in the Food and Agricultural Sector suffered a Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware attack affecting U.S. and Australian meat production facilities, resulting in a complete production stoppage.”[1]

The FBI and CISA are encouraging organizations to examine their cybersecurity posture and implement the recommended best practices to mitigate the risk posed cyber threats and ransomware. Additionally, the FBI and CISA released a report outlining the ransomware trends and ransomware best practices.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports a continue rise in ransomware attacks. Between January to July 31, 2021, “the IC3 has received 2,084 ransomware complaints with over $16.8M in losses.”[1] The most frequently reported ransomware variants during the month of July include:

  • Conti
  • PYSA
  • LockBit
  • RansomEXX/Defray777
  • Zeppelin
  • Crysis/Dharma/Phobos

When attacking an organization, nefarious actors evaluate the victim’s ability to pay the ransom, as well as the victim’s incentive to pay the ransom, e.g., regaining access to data and/or proprietary information and/or avoid having sensitive data or proprietary information leaked to the public.

The FBI and CISA outline a variety of best practices to take a proactive approach to potential cyber threats:

  • Make an offline backup of your data
  • Do not click on suspicious links
  • Limit access to resources over internal networks by restricting RDP
  • Monitor remote access, RDG logs, enforce account lockouts after specified attempts
  • Update your software and scan for any vulnerabilities
  • Use strong passwords
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Secure your networks and implement segmentation, filter traffic and scan ports
  • Secure user accounts
  • Have an incident response plan in place

For the full detailed report and best practices, you can find the FBI and CISA report here.

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At MDS, we provide continuous monitoring services for our clients, including a score report indicating the susceptibility of a ransomware attack. Our tool allows MDS to assess any enterprise within a client’s supply chain. This will provide our customers leverage over their vendor relationships to influence negotiations and risk management.

By identifying the vulnerabilities within an organization, MDS can provide solutions to mitigate cyber threats and ransomware attacks. Additionally, we help organizations implement a comprehensive incident response program. We provide our customers with tailored policies and procedures that are triggered when an incident occurs, continuous monitoring services, privacy and security trainings, and facilitate a simulated tabletop exercise to mature the customer’s incident response program.

Check out MDS’ Security Awareness Training offerings and services.  Contact us today!

[1] Ransomware Awareness for Holidays and Weekends, CISA (Aug. 31, 2021), https://us-cert.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/AA21-243A-Ransomware_Awareness_for_Holidays_and_Weekends.pdf

[2] Id.

 

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