Florida city to pay $600,000 to a ransomware gang





The city council of  Riviera Beach, Florida, have voted unanimously to pay more than $600,000 in Bitcoins to a ransomware gang who had held its computer systems hostage for three weeks. 

The ransomware spread throughout the city’s computer network, after an employee clicked on a malicious link in an email. 

"Ransomware is commonly delivered through phishing emails or via 'drive-by downloads,'" according to Homeland Security. "Phishing emails often appear as though they have been sent from a legitimate organization or someone known to the victim and entice the user to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment."

The attack has locked all files and shut down all the city's services. Operations have been down ever since, with the exception of 911 services, which were able to continue to operate, although limited.

According to the Palm Beach Post’s report the ransomware affected the city’s email, 911 calls couldn't enter into computer records, and systems that controlled the water utility were offline.

The city council first decided to resolve the issue by paying $941,000 for new computers, but now they have decided to pay the ransom.

The amount of money would be paid from the city's insurer, although it's unclear wether hackers will decrypt the locked files afterward or not. 

The city council refused to comment.  




UK Police's Forensic firm targeted in cyber attack









An investigation has been launched after a ransomware attack targeted the UK’s largest private forensics provider, which is widely used by forces across the country. 

The firm Eurofins scientists detected a breach of its systems on June 2. After following the report, police have suspended all its work with the company. The company carries out DNA analysis, toxicology, ballistics and computer forensics work.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council, Chief Constable James Vaughan, said in a statement: “We have put our national contingency plans in place, which will see urgent submissions and priority work diverted to alternative suppliers to be dealt with as quickly as possible.’’

“It is too early to fully quantify the impact, but we are working at pace with partners to understand and mitigate the risks. We will share more information as soon as we can.”

The company has been told to return the casework that had not been started. They deal with more than 70,000 cases ever year, including murders and terrorism.  



Cybercrime goes out of control in India



Phishing, data theft, identity theft, online lottery, cyber attacks, job frauds, banking frauds, cyberbullying, online blackmailing, morphing, revenge porn, cyber hacking, child pornography, cyber grooming, cyberstalking, data diddling, software piracy, online radicalisation — the dark web of cybercrimes is spreading across the world and India is one of the hotspots of this digital crime.

With increasing mobile coverage and cheaper data, more and more Indians now access the internet even while on the move. This has exposed unsuspecting ones to fall prey to online fraudsters. Many become victims of sexual exploitation after being made to share personal details while some others use the new media like WhatsApp to spread fake news to create trouble for political and other gains. There have been several lynching incidents in the country in the past couple of years after fake messages about child lifting and cow slaughter were spread through social media.

In spite of an alarming rise in cybercrime in the country, the most recent Government statistics available on this is from 2016. Cybercrimes touched 12,317 cases in 2016 which was an increase from 9,622 reported in 2014. The National Crimes Record Bureau is yet to release the statistics for 2017 and 2018.

The data available is just a tip of the iceberg and the numbers might be much more, says a senior government official. “Many even do not report loss of money or honour out of shame. Many cannot even tell their families that they have lost money in online frauds,” the official said.

Officials say the problem is that common people are not aware of the risks involved while dealing with the internet. Many are unaware, they say, and exercise no caution while using the net. They click unwanted links, unknowingly give the cyber fraudster their personal details and get cheated.

US Cyber Command launched a digital strike against an Iranian spy group





The United States’s Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that is believed to be behind a series of attack on commercial ships, according to two former intelligence officials.

The Iranian spy group has ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a division of Iran’s Armed Force group. For the past several years, they have been digitally targeting the military and civilian ships that are passing through the economically important Strait of Hormuz. 

The exact details of the retaliatory strike are unknown. However, the strike against the group is said to have taken place on the same day when Iran shot down $180million unmanned US surveillance drone. 

A Pentagon spokesperson only told Yahoo News that 'as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.'



The Program " The straight line with Vladimir Putin” underwent a DDoS attack.


The straight line call center with Russian President Vladimir Putin was DDoS-attacked from abroad. It is noted that due to this fact there were problems with connection during Putin's communication with the Russians.

The host of the program on the air told, "Our call center just underwent a massive DDoS attack from abroad, apparently, failures in video calls are associated with this. The total number of calls is already approaching two million”.

The press service of Russia's largest provider of digital services Rostelecom said, “Two powerful attacks happened. Rostelecom successfully repelled the attacks. The attacks did not affect the straight line operation."

An interesting fact is that Margarita Simonyan, the editor of the Russian international news channel RT, said that the attack of hackers was carried out from the territory of Ukraine.

Alexey Malnev, the Head of the Monitoring and Response Center at Jet Infosystem, said that in the period from 2013 to 2015, almost every political or economic event was subjected to a powerful surge of attacks.

The expert stressed that the hacker attack on the straight line with Russian President Vladimir Putin was carried out in order to destabilize the situation.

"Today we can say with confidence that this is a wave of the established trend of recent years," said Malnev.

He also added that the cyber war in the modern world is permanent. The expert noted that in the future we should continue to expect similar as well as more complex attacks.

It is worth noting that the Program "The straight line with Vladimir Putin" is already the 17th since 2001 and takes place in the classical format. The President is in the Studio, where he answers questions of interest to Russians, received both by phone and through the direct line website or a special application. If necessary, the Head of State may contact the Heads of regions and Ministers on various issues.

Usually at the end of a straight line Putin draws up a list of instructions, appointing responsible persons and deadlines for the execution of each task.