Cyber ​​cops warn businesses of heightened ‘ransom’ risk

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government Office of Cybersecurity and the CHIN Digital Forensics Hub are warning the business community of a recent increase in the number of reported phishing and scam emails in this jurisdiction. Officials said they fear these cyberattacks, designed to look genuine and coming from legitimate organizations, could be a precursor to a more serious cybercrime, such as a ransomware attack on a local website.

In a press release on Thursday, government officials and cyber cops said businesses need to ensure their staff are aware of this heightened threat level in order to remain vigilant. Employees should be instructed to immediately report any suspicious activity to the internal IT team. Businesses and individuals are also encouraged to be alert to all forms of online scams and to report suspicious activity to CHIN.

Phishing emails provide cyber attackers with an easy entry point into an organization’s computers and networks. They often contain malicious HTML attachments or links, which could infect computers and compromise an entire computer network if the link is clicked or the attachment is opened by the recipient. Campaigns are how cybercriminals gain access to an organization’s network to install malware to steal, delete, or encrypt its data.

Online invaders can then ransom organizations by demanding a hefty payment, likely in cryptocurrency, with the promise of unlocking the data once they receive payment. Cyber ​​attackers often threaten to sell or post the data on the dark web if payment is not provided.

Officials have encouraged local organizations to send out a notification to all of their staff to make them aware of phishing emails. Staff should be extremely careful if they receive an email from an unknown party or an unexpected email, the importance of not opening the attachment or clicking on embedded links and who to report to.

Email security solutions and secure configuration should be implemented to quarantine phishing emails, malicious content and links.

Backup devices that are kept online permanently are also a target for ransomware by cyber attackers. Companies are encouraged to review their procedures and keep backup data offline when not in use or in the cloud.

Government officials said cyber attackers exploit vulnerabilities in everyday software to gain access to an organization’s systems. Organizations are encouraged to adopt regularized protocols for applying security patches and patches without undue delay. Endpoint Detect and Respond (EPDR) or traditional antivirus software can help prevent certain types of cyberattacks. It is important that this software is deployed and kept up to date on computers and servers.

Multi-factor authentication, also known as two-factor authentication, provides a more secure connection to computers and online services and should always be enabled if it is an available feature.

The Cayman Islands Government Office of Cybersecurity reminds the public to visit the website for helpful hints and tips.

Martin E. Berry