Ransomware hits fertility clinics, a news agency and a school board

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday November 27th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cybersecurity for ITWorldCanada.com. Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all our American listeners.

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A couple of ransomware attacks to tell you about:

U.S. Fertility, a network of fertility clinics in 10 states, has finally acknowledged it suffered a breach of security controls in August, followed by a ransomware attack in September. In a statement the company said that in addition to encrypting data, the hacker copied what it says is a limited number of files including names, addresses, dates of birth and, for some, a Social Security number. It took until earlier this month to figure out who was victimized. As a result of the incident the company has fortified its firewall, is monitoring its computer network for suspicious activity and adapting employee security training on data security and recognizing phishing emails.

Denmark’s biggest news agency was knocked offline this week after suffering a ransomware attack. According to the Associated Press, the agency has refused to pay a ransom to unlock the encrypted data. For two days the service distributed news and photos through blogs. It estimated 25 of its 100 servers were affected.

And in the U.S. the Baltimore County public school system is still trying to recover after a ransomware attack late Tuesday. The incident canceled the few in-school classes still available. Most of the 115,000 students in the district have been forced to attend online classes due to the COVID pandemic. School closed yesterday and today for the Thanksgiving holiday. There’s no indication when online classes will resume.

Belden, a U.S. manufacturer of enterprise networking products including routers, switches and modems, has acknowledged company data was recently stolen in a cyber attack. Information copied includes data on some current and former employees, as well as information about some business partners. Belden described it as a sophisticated attack.

Police around the world are working together with cybersecurity companies to slow cybercrime. The latest example was announced this week by the Europol police co-operative. Cops in Italy, Hungary and the United Kingdom worked with a threat intelligence firm called Group-IB to analyze 90,000 pieces of stolen credit card data over three months. Financial institutions were notified of suspicious activity. Police believe the analysis prevented about $60 million in losses.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories are in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. Later this afternoon catch the Week In Review edition of the podcast, when Dinah Davis of Arctic Wolf Networks and I will offer security-related gifts for the holiday season.

Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.

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