Email hijackers con businesses out of food as well as money
The FBI and other government agencies have warned that cybercriminals have begun using spoofed emails to steal shipments of real commodities, in this case, food. Business email compromise (BEC), which continues to be a multibillion-dollar danger, is evolving.
The FBI, along with the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, claimed that a number of US food manufacturers have already been the victims of frauds, many of which involved fake orders for a single product—powdered milk—worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
BEC assaults are among the most financially damaging internet crimes, according to the FBI, which claims they brought in about $2.4 billion in revenue in 2021 alone. The process entails a criminal gaining access to a valid account and using it as is customary.
“In recent incidents, criminal actors have targeted physical goods rather than wire transfers using BEC tactics. Companies in all sectors—both buyers and suppliers—should consider taking steps to protect their brand and reputation,” the federal agencies said in their joint advisory.
It seems to have its roots in the 2008 Chinese infant formula incident, when milk powder tainted with melamine resulted in the deaths of six children and the hospitalisation of thousands more. Due to the fact that Chinese parents are apparently still apprehensive of domestically produced milk powder, imported brands are more expensive in China.
Smugglers of powdered milk have been thwarted in the past, such as the Australian ring that was busted in 2019 for thieving powdered milk and reselling it abroad. Black-market capitalism is evident in the progression from shoplifting to shipmentlifting, if for no other reason.
The FBI, FDA, and USDA noted in the joint alert that one victim was left liable for $160,000 worth of stolen milk powder after responding to one bogus request, while another had many orders totaling nearly $1 million.
The Learning Channel hacked, nearly 1TB of data stolen
Cyber extortion group Karakurt has added The Learning Channel (TLC) to its list of alleged victims, and says it’s ready to leak 931 GB of the company’s “scripts, videos, internal documentation,” and employee information if the company doesn’t pay up by December 23rd.
Karakurt, which is believed to be affiliated with ransomware group Conti, has been on the FBI, CISA and US Treasury Department’s radar since at least this past June, when the agencies issued a joint advisory warning of the threat posed by the group.
The Karakurt gang are believed to gain access by, among other things, buying compromised account credentials. The group has reportedly resorted to harassing and bullying the employees and business partners of its victims in an effort to extort them into paying.
According to the agencies, Karakurt is indiscriminate in its targeting, and has demanded payments of between $25,000 and $13 million to not leak stolen data. Karakurt isn’t known to deal in ransomware, and instead is a pure extortion operation.
TLC is a subsidiary of Discovery, which also operates HGTV, Cinemax and other television networks. Karakurt’s claims to have infiltrated the network are unverified and its ransom demands are unknown. It doesn’t appear Discovery has acknowledged the breach as of writing, and we’ve reached out to learn more.
Cloudflare offers free zero-trust to small critical infrastructure firms
Content delivery network Cloudflare is launching an initiative to protect small businesses operating in critical infrastructure sectors that will provide its zero trust platform free of charge – if they qualify.
Dubbed “Project Safekeeping,” Cloudflare said the initiative is necessary because the volume of attacks faced by companies in critical infrastructure sectors, like healthcare and energy, are overwhelming for even the largest firms.
“Smaller organizations typically do not have the capacity to manage relentless cyber attacks,” Cloudflare said.
The products Cloudflare is prepared to offer will be free and will have no time limit, the company said, and will include real-time app user verification, traffic filtering, cloud application security, data loss prevention, email security and remote browser isolation. DDoS protection and Cloudflare’s web app firewall are also included.
Unfortunately, the list of what it takes to qualify is pretty restrictive.
Only companies located in Australia, Japan, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom can apply, and applicants also have to operate in a sector their government has deemed “critical infrastructure.”
Those meeting that pair of criteria will have to face a final filter: A headcount of no more than 50 people and/or an annual revenue/balance sheet total less than $10 million US dollars. There’s no word on whether growth would result in loss of access, but it’s safe to assume Cloudflare would want successful customers to start paying it at some point.
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Remember, CyberSecurity Starts With You!
- Globally, 30,000 websites are hacked daily.
- 64% of companies worldwide have experienced at least one form of a cyber attack.
- There were 20M breached records in March 2021.
- In 2020, ransomware cases grew by 150%.
- Email is responsible for around 94% of all malware.
- Every 39 seconds, there is a new attack somewhere on the web.
- An average of around 24,000 malicious mobile apps are blocked daily on the internet.