Cybernews weekly briefing: crooks hit new low

Here's this week's recap – a brief summary of hacks and threats Cybernews observed March 6-10.

While some cybercriminal gangs pretend to be robin hoods and claim to donate to charity or even force companies to take poor kids to KFC, as if that could do such children any good, others are reaching for new lows.

ALPHV (BlackCat) leaked breast cancer patients’ photos to blackmail the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) into paying the demanded ransom. This is a common negotiating tactic – criminals publish bits and pieces of data as proof they have it and threaten to release more sensitive information if their demands are not met.

Medical institutions are, unfortunately, high on the cybercriminals’ radar. Another ransomware attack crippled a hospital in Barcelona in Catalonia, a region of Spain. Following the attack by the RansomHouse gang, the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona saw its computers across numerous clinics, laboratories, and the emergency room shutting down. Approximately 3,000 patient visits were canceled because staff couldn’t access their medical records.

Crooks also keep going after educational institutions. This time, we saw the Medusa gang threatening to leak data belonging to the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) with hundreds of schools in Minneapolis. Threat actors asked for a $1 million ransom in exchange for deleting the data from its trove of stolen details, and set the same price for the potential buyers.

Cybernews exclusives

Our researchers continue to dive into the deep web, to check the darkest corners of the dark web in the hope of making the internet at least a tiny bit more secure.

Our readers have been enjoying car-hacking stories like researchers remotely unlocking Tesla. And yet, it’s not that amusing when you realize how easy it might be for crooks to hack into your car, since basically all newer car models are internet of things (IoT) devices that can be compromised.

You are not out of the woods even if you own an older model, since your dealer might be sitting on a treasure trove of your personal info, and is definitely not immune to cyberattacks. Our recent discovery showcased that popular car brands (BMW, in this case) don’t always do everything in their power to secure that data.

But to err is human, as long as there’s a lesson to be learned from that error: BMW fixed the issue.

So did Cosentino, a Spanish-owned multinational that specializes in high-end surfaces for residential and commercial spaces. It took them quite a while, though, as we first notified the company about leaking sensitive client data, including home addresses, in September 2022. Well, better late than never.

A breach of a health insurance company exposed 170,000 records. Cybernews found out that US House and Senate members' personal data, allegedly compromised in the breach, was being sold online by none other than a threat actor using the alias “IntelBroker”, a serial hacker who we’ve already seen selling US-based grocery delivery platform Weee! and UScellular user data.

Some tech innovations, like non-fungible tokens (NFT,) or even the metaverse, don’t cross that threshold into becoming mainstream. Others, like ChatGPT by OpenAI, seem to be a game-changer and are widely embraced by the public. And since ChatGPT made it to South Park, a show popular for its satirical take on current events, I believe it is probably safe to say that generative AI tools are here to stay.

Boston Dynamics is another tech brand making headlines. This time, the company’s four-legged Spot robots stole the Paris Fashion Week, strutting alongside human models.

But the tech firm’s robots are as scary as they are entertaining. The company has previously warned that “untrustworthy” people could abuse robots to harm others, and pledged not to weaponize its general-purpose robots.

Summary of hacks and breaches

  • Despite the ongoing war with Russia, Ukrainian authorities managed to raid locations in Kyiv and Kharkiv and seized the equipment allegedly belonging to the Russia-linked DoppelPaymer ransomware operators.
  • Canadian engineering giant, Black & McDonald, working with major energy providers and military bases, was hit by ransomware. It’s not the first ransomware case to hit the North American country in recent weeks, as Indigo, the biggest publisher in Canada, saw former and current employee data compromised in another attack.
  • LockBit claimed the Japanese audio equipment manufacturer, Audio-Technica, as victim. According to the dark-web monitoring platform, DarkFeed, LockBit is the most active ransomware gang with a total of 400 victims.
  • Acronis, a Swiss cybersecurity firm with over 2,000 employees, was allegedly breached. The company said that customer credentials were compromised but none of its products were affected.

Editor’s choice:

Cyber women: if they got into cybersecurity, so can you

NASA fixes spacecraft with old-school reboot

FBI chief details exactly how TikTok could threaten national security

Ford envisions self-repossessing cars that simply drive away

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