Cyber Watch – November 30, 2023

Welcome to the Cyber Watch series for today, November 30, 2023. At DigitalXForce, our Cyber Intelligence team curates a list of the latest cybersecurity news to keep you informed of stories that matter every week. 

Cyber Watch | DigitalXForce

We hope you had an exciting Black Friday and Cyber Monday experience! Let’s take a look at the latest happenings this shopping season. This week’s Cyber Watch top 10 list is a compilation of stories from 50+ relevant news sources across the web – all ranked according to the risk impact.

We encourage you to review these stories and take steps to protect your organization. Click on each headline to read the full story.

DigitalXForce To Offer the “Cybersecurity Risk Management Platform” For Free to All School Districts

DigitalXForce Corporation has recently made a bold move, announcing that her proprietary “DigitalXForce – Cybersecurity Risk Management Platform” will be joining forces with all School Districts in USA against cyber attacks in the educational sector for free! DigitalXForce provides outcome-based, real-time, data-driven, and next-gen cybersecurity solutions under the leadership of Mr. Lalit Ahluwahlia with the aim to help organizations build digital trust.

A recent Press Release published by the company explains further, “DigitalXForce Corporation will be offering her “Digital Trust Platform for the New Era” for free to all school districts interested in leveling up their cybersecurity game. The company is on a mission to build a cyber-secure educational sector starting from the grassroots. School Districts will be given access to enhanced digital asset and attack surface inventory, security blueprint and tool integration, regulatory controls mapping, risk quantification and prioritization, and remediation with end-to-end visibility, governance, analytics and reporting to optimize and automate their digital risk posture.” 

All School Districts in the USA are advised to reach the company’s management to know the next steps to maximize this free cybersecurity offering. 

Iranian Hackers Strike U.S. Water Facility, Disrupt Operations

Earlier today, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency revealed that hackers associated with Iran have struck a small water treatment facility in Western Pennsylvania. The Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa was the target of what officials describe as an ongoing cyberattack seeking to compromise critical infrastructure across the United States.

The perpetrators are believed to be Cyber Av3ngers, a hacktivist collective with ties to the Iranian regime. Exploiting vulnerabilities in a Unitronics programmable logic controller, they seized control of a booster station regulating water pressure for local townships. The facility immediately disconnected the system and switched to manual operations after detecting the intrusion.

King Edward VII’s Hospital Attacked: Ransomware Syndicate Auctions Royal Family Medical Records

A new phase has emerged in the dark web today as a notorious ransomware group claims to have infiltrated London’s prestigious King Edward VII Hospital – medical provider to the British Royal Family. The Rhysida crime syndicate published stolen data to their dark web leak site as proof of the breach, including sensitive patient medical records they implicate belong to members of the Royal Family.

The group is now auctioning off the trove of healthcare data stolen from the hospital, including X-rays, prescriptions, and medical reports of staff and patients alike. They are ransoming this invaluable cache for 10 bitcoins with the threat of full public release if payment is not received within a week. With over 60 victim organizations across healthcare, education, and government sectors, Rhysida represents an adaptive digital threat able to pivot quickly across targets.

CISA Calls on Tech Industry to Adopt Secure-by-Design Principles

Amid the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks targeting software vulnerabilities, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is appealing directly to private sector vendors today. New CISA guidance aims to inspire a shift in priorities amongst developers – embracing security as a guiding principle from day one instead of an afterthought.

Dubbed “Secure by Design”, these best practice alerts underscore the global damage relatively simple oversights in software architecture can enable. Initial recommendations promote radical transparency when disclosing flaws and ownership over hardening platforms against exploitation by cybercriminals.

Ransomware Gang Black Basta Reaps $100M+ in Extorted Bitcoin

Black Basta, a cybercrime syndicate with suspected links to the notorious Conti ransomware group has managed to secretly extort over one hundred million dollars in untraceable Bitcoin from its victims. New blockchain analysis reveals Black Basta bursting onto the scene in early 2022 and quickly scaling up a global enterprise of digital extortion.

In less than two years of malignant activity, researchers have tracked over three hundred intrusions attributed to Black Basta across public and private sector victims reluctant to disclose details. Tactics include encrypting essential systems and demanding multimillion dollar payments to restore access. The average ransom tops one million.

Okta Admits All Customer Support Systems Affected In October Breach, Not 1%

Identity management provider, Okta, disclosed today that threat actors compromised intricate details on every one of their customer support users. Okta stated most concerningly that all conclusions are preliminary at this stage of the investigation. 

While originally downplaying the October 2023 incident and claiming only a 1% data loss, Okta now confirms full names and email addresses got extracted by the unknown intruders. This opens the door to more convincing phishing attempts and heightened cyber risks. Okta integration has been exploited in past high-profile attacks to further infiltrate entities like casino operator Caesars, leading to eight figure extortion demands.

Largest Power Supplier in Slovenia Falls Victim to Cybersecurity Breach

A dangerous game of cyber extortion put Slovenia’s electric reliability in momentary jeopardy this week after ransomware terrorists infiltrated the computers regulating a portion of the nation’s power grid. Critical infrastructure provider HSE Group was under siege as the criminal infiltrators issued decryption demands while hinting at the havoc they could unleash with a single keystroke.

Though the intruders remain shrouded in mystery, their malware payload delivered immediate impacts – encrypting sensitive files, commandeering alarm systems, and cutting off visibility for grid operators. With central nervous system in disarray, fears mounted over potential cascading blackouts as winter bites down.

Deepfake Identity Fraud Rockets 10X as AI Fuels Cybercrime Wave

Artificially intelligent identity thieves are pioneering the next frontier of highly potent cyber fraud. New data reveals a tenfold explosion in deepfake tools exploited to infiltrate everything from cryptocurrency exchanges to digital finance platforms this past year alone.

Where rudimentary identity deception once prevailed, sophisticated criminal rings now leverage machine learning to manufacture eerily convincing biometric dupes on an industrial scale. The resulting counterfeit credentials enable effortless infiltration of anti-fraud systems designed for analog-era threats.

The epicenter lies in North America where steep 1700% year-over-year surge in deepfake detection still underestimates its pervasiveness. Asia-Pacific likewise emerged as a global hotbed for AI-powered identity crime, seeing a whopping 1500% increase in 2023. 

Cyberattack Hits Ardent Health Services, Affecting 30 Hospitals Across Six States

A cyberattack during the Thanksgiving weekend targeted Ardent Health Services, impacting 30 hospitals across six states. The healthcare company responded promptly, taking its network offline and diverting ambulances. Ardent’s technology team is actively investigating the incident, with third-party forensic and threat intelligence experts engaged. Patient health and financial data compromise remain uncertain.

Amid the ongoing cybersecurity threat to healthcare, the incident draws attention to the vulnerability of critical systems. Despite the attack, Ardent’s swift response has been commended, ensuring essential medical services continue. The company’s clinics remain open, and hospitals provide necessary care to patients arriving at emergency rooms.

FTC Takes Action Against AI Voice Cloning Risks, Focusing on Prevention and Detection Measures to Protect Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is addressing the escalating threat of AI voice cloning, recognizing the potential harm it poses to consumers. With advancements in text-to-speech AI, the technology’s growing sophistication raises concerns about scams and deceptive practices. The FTC is now actively working on comprehensive solutions to counter these risks, concentrating on prevention, detection, and evaluation strategies.

Voice cloning, while a remarkable technological advancement, brings forth the potential for malicious misuse. Scammers could exploit it to impersonate familiar individuals, leading to financial and emotional harm. Moreover, there’s a risk of fraudsters deceiving consumers by mimicking the voices of creative professionals for fraudulent purposes. The FTC’s three-fold approach involves developing methods for preventing and authenticating voice clones, implementing robust tools for detection and monitoring, and conducting evaluations to gauge the effectiveness of these measures.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for our next episode. See you next week!

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