Massive distributed denial-of-service attacks and data breaches remained front and center in SurfWatch Labs’ cybercrime data this week as old attacks against Brian Krebs, OVH, Yahoo and others continued to be heavily discussed. But looking beyond those headline-grabbing stories, the data also reflects a surge in reports of stolen payment card information.
On Tuesday, University of Central Florida police announced they were able to tie a recent surge in fraud reports to malware on the systems of AD Food Services, which operates Asian Chao, Huey Magoo’s and the Corner Café in the Student Union.
On Wednesday, luggage and handbag company Vera Bradley announced a breach affecting retail stores. Law enforcement notified the company of a potential issue on September 15, and it was discovered that payment cards used at store locations between July 25, 2016, and September 23, 2016, may have been affected.
On Thursday, it was reported that Dutch developer Willem de Groot discovered skimming scripts on more than 6,000 online stores running vulnerable versions of the Magneto ecommerce platform. The active operation is adding 85 stores each day, and de Groot estimates that the number of stolen cards is in the hundreds of thousands.
In addition, American 1 Credit Union in Michigan announced last week that it is temporarily blocking payments to all Wendy’s franchise locations due to ongoing fraud issues. Community members are reporting fraudulent activity on newly issued payment cards used at Wendy’s, suggesting that the malware issue may be ongoing for the fast-food chain. Like other credit unions, American 1 Credit Union reported its total losses related to the Wendy’s data breach are growing beyond the losses incurred from the 2014 Home Depot breach.
Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:
- TheDarkOverlord extortion demands continue: Peachtree Orthopedic Clinic in Atlanta is notifying patients of a data breach after discovering unauthorized access into its computer system. After the clinic’s announcement, the actor known as TheDarkOverlord leaked documents allegedly stolen from the clinic and announced they had another 543,879 records containing personal and health information. Athens Orthopedic Clinic, another victim of TheDarkOverlord, confirmed that TheDarkOverlord demanded nearly $400,000 in ransom for the stolen patient data and threatened to call patients and publicly name the company if the clinic didn’t comply with the extortion demands.
- Another massive breach reported: A hacker going by the name “0x2Taylor” has released 58 million records claiming to be stolen from Modern Business Systems (MBS), which offers in-house data management and monetization solutions to companies. MBS has not publicly confirmed the data breach, but researchers have confirmed that MBS was running an unsecured MongoDB database as the hacker suggested. The hacker also shared a screenshot indicating he or she has another database containing 258 million rows of data.
- Beware of social engineering: An employee that clicked on a link that appeared to be for a Dropbox file led to a hacker targeting a customer of garden furniture company Gaze Burvill and requesting payment of £7,148 to a fraudulent bank account. Australian not-for-profit health fund CBHS said an unnamed third party has been breached and is warning customers to be on the lookout for phishing emails. The Clinton Foundation is warning that donors are being targeted with phishing messages. Indian police are investigating about 700 people over a scam where workers posed as IRS officials and duped U.S. citizens out of tens of millions of dollars. A Connecticut man has been charged with stealing login credentials from users of Dark Web marketplaces using a combination phishing pages and port forwarding and then using those credentials to steal bitcoins.
- Effective backups thwart ransomware: Hutchinson Community Foundation was infected with ransomware on September 19, but it was able to fully recover the data from backups without paying a ransom. Nevertheless, the foundation is notifying donors, vendors and other stakeholders that information may have been compromised during the attack.
- Hackers continue to target U.S. political figures: The Twitter account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, was hijacked and used to urge followers to vote for Donald Trump. In addition, screenshots circulating online suggest that Podesta’s iCloud account may have been compromised. Users on 4chan claimed that Podesta’s iCloud password, which was published by WikiLeaks, was still working; however, WikiLeaks said that it made sure the credentials were changed.
SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.
Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week
SurfWatch Labs industry risk scores remained fairly stable. Other Organizations (+0.8%) – which includes groups such as education, advocacy and political parties – was the only sector to see a noticeable increase in risk score compared to the previous week.
Nation-state hacking remains one of the most talked about cyber risks, and that discussion grew more intense as the U.S. presidential elections moved into the final month. On Friday, the U.S. formally accused the Russian government of orchestrating the recent attacks against the Democratic National Committee and others in an effort “to interfere with the U.S. election process.” A statement from director of national intelligence James Clapper and the Department of Homeland Security said that they believe only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized the hacking efforts. That public accusation was followed by promises of a “proportional” response against Russia; however, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest added that ““it is unlikely that our response would be announced in advance.”
The U.S. isn’t the only country facing nation-state espionage. A Wednesday report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre said the 2015 hacking of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s network was carried out by foreign adversaries. That attack compromised government systems and led to the theft of sensitive documents, and after the attack officials estimated it would cost millions of dollars to plug the related security holes. The report also said that the attacks demonstrate a willingness of actors to use disruptive and destructive measures when targeting organizations.
That destructive nature is demonstrated by the April 2015 attack on France’s TV5Monde. A recent investigation linked the incident to the Russian hacking group APT 28 and revealed that the attack, which knocked 12 channels off the air, was designed to destroy the TV network. The attack turned out to be more sophisticated than initially reported, with the network first being infiltrated in January 2015 in order to conduct reconnaissance on the way TV5Monde broadcast TV signals. Seven points of entry were used, including a Netherlands-based company that supplied the remote-controlled cameras used in the network’s studios. According to the BBC, the attackers then fabricated malware designed to corrupt and destroy the Internet-connected hardware that controlled the TV station’s operations.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen to you in television,” Yves Bigot, the director-general of TV5Monde told the BBC. “We were a couple of hours from having the whole station gone for good.”
These attacks, ranging from influencing elections to destroying TV networks, are believed to be carried out by nation-states or other advanced actors who are increasingly using those disruptive and destructive tactics to achieve their goals – and with the U.S. promising retaliatory attacks, we can expect to see more such attacks in the near future.