Wanna Cry Crooks Could Be Crying Over Lousy Pay Day

Back in May, the WannaCry ransomware virus was launched and spread to infect more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries. Without a doubt, the cyber criminals responsible were anticipating a massive payday. They were demanding roughly $300 – $600 in bitcoins from each victim in order to release their data. But, according to a recent article on nakedsecurity.com, there simply weren’t many victims willing to fork over the ransom.

As the article stated, “To the likely surprise of the crooks, most WannaCry victims refused to pay, so that the crooks’ bitcoin wallets were plump but not bulging, topping out at about $150,000 by the end of the malware outbreak.”

(https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/08/05/wannacry-crooks-cash-out-their-ransom/)

Apparently just over 300 people met the criminals’ demands. Even more interesting is that the crooks may never get their hands on the money. That’s because bitcoin accounts, while somewhat anonymous can be traced once they are connected to an event such as the WannaCry ransomware attack. It’s pretty easy to track how much money is coming in and going out of an account, even though the account holder is unknown. And anyone can do it.

The crooks know that too, so they started converting their bitcoins to Monero, another cryptocurrency. However, according to the nakedsecurity.com article, even though Monero keeps the sending and receiving address of each transaction secret, they have blocked the addresses used by WannaCry and are engaged in assisting law enforcement.

This is good news for the current and future victims of ransomware attacks. In the meantime make sure you have the most effective measures against any future cyber attacks. Call our offices for a free consultation.

Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Smart Devices, Smarter Cyber Criminals

Businesses are not alone in their need to be concerned about cyber security. We live in an ever more interconnected world. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows everyone to do things digitally and remotely that we would never have believed imaginable just a few short years ago.

 

Our digital devices will open and unlock doors, shop for us, control the thermostat, pre-heat the oven before we get home and play our music at our bidding. However all of this interconnectedness leaves us all susceptible to cyber attack.

A Single Point Of Entry On One Device Can Be Disastrous

 What everyone must keep in mind is that an intrusion into any of your accounts or devices can escalate into a full-scale attack on your financial and reputational wellbeing. And more and more cyber criminals are intruding through mobile apps.

I recently heard that last October, hackers took over 100,000 IoT devices and used them to block traffic to well known websites including Twitter and Netflix. And, an 11-year old boy in Austin, Texas used his teddy bear to hack into Bluetooth devices that allowed him to manipulate a robotic teddy bear at a cyber security conference in the Netherlands.

So, as you can see, if an 11-year old can break into devices on another continent, imagine what someone with even more experience can do. It is becoming more and evident that many smart home devices are insecure making it easy for hackers to exploit those vulnerabilities.

Think about your refrigerator, your washing machine or even your dishwasher being portals through which cybercriminals can potential freeze accounts or clean our your bank accounts. You’ll also want to seriously think about who potentially has access to your children through their smart phones and online accounts.

What Bad Guys Look For

Bad guys look for vulnerable machines to infect. Once they find an opening they then  enlist them into a zombie army that infects other machines, thus greatly amplifying their ability to reach millions of users.

We rarely have to think about home invaders crashing through the doors of our homes to steal our belongings. Today’s criminals get into the most personal aspects of our lives and belongings through our toasters. We never even know they are there because they don’t make a sound. How defenseless we are!

Change The Default Password On All Devices

If you use or buy IoT devices, the very first thing you should do is change the default password and make sure to update the software. These devices are easy for the criminals because they have default passwords that are easy to guess and most people don’t change them. You also need to make sure you’re running the most up-to-date version of the software.

Technological Conveniences Open Us To Destructive Attacks

 As I said at the beginning of this article, it is not just the business world that needs to make cyber security a priority. Individuals as well as industry must prepare and protect themselves from this new, rapidly increasing and sweeping form of destructive attacks.

If you are a business owner call our offices to set up a free consultation to determine if you are vulnerable to attack in ways that you may not know. It is better to be proactive rather than wait to discover an attack has rendered your technology inoperable.