Security News Round-Up: Ransomware Gets Netherlands University to Pay $240K


News Round-Up – Get a Quick Rundown of What You Need to Know


Evolver’s Cyber News Round-Up looks into recent reports and journalism covering cyber threats and trends affecting all industries. You can suggest articles to us on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @EvolverInc. Visit our cybersecurity services page to learn more about cyber risk assessment and threat protection.


Ransomware Gets Netherlands University to Pay $240,000

A payment of 30 bitcoins (around $240,000) was paid by the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands (UM), after it was hit with CLOP ransomware, says Security Week. The school received phishing emails on October 15th and 16th, 2019, which each possessed a malicious Excel document that downloaded the ransomware. Once downloaded, the attackers were on the university’s network for longer than two months before they actually started encrypting the data on December 23rd, the article notes. Due to needing its data for students to complete exams, UM decided to pay the ransom. This incident is not unique, as a number of universities have made prime targets for hackers within the past few years.


36,000+ State Jail Files Leaked

JailCore, a platform for cloud management and compliance that is also frequently used in correctional facilities across different states, left 36,077 records of inmates exposed in an unlocked S3 bucket. According to Dark Reading, the data affected includes inmate IDs, full names, mugshots, booking numbers, personal health information, and activity logs tracked by jails in Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The company locked the bucket of data around January 16th, the article states. The affected medical records revealed medicines taken by inmates along with details such as dosages, acceptance of the drugs, and so on.


US Charges Chinese Military Personnel with Equifax Hack

Chinese military personnel were charged for the Equifax hack that left around 150 million Americans’ data stolen, says Info Security Magazine. Wu Zhiyong, Xu Ke, Wang Qian, and Liu Lei, all belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, were charged by a federal grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia under accusations of conspiring to complete a massive data stealing operation over the period of three months. The article notes that they are believed to have used 34 servers across 20 countries to route traffic through them in combination with making use of encrypted communication methods. A number of other accusations in regards to the group’s methods have been made in the case as well.


Over 440 Million Records Exposed by Estée Lauder

Over 440 million records belonging to cosmetic giant Estée Lauder have been discovered in plain text, all stored in an unsecured database, as stated by Hack Read. The data did include internal emails, but no customer records or payment data has been identified as being affected. Additionally, the article notes, some of the data was related to the Middleware data management program used by the company, meaning it can likely be used to reveal more sensitive data later on. Luckily, the company took swift action in securing the database on the day of its discovery (January 30th), Hack Read says.


North Miami Beach Police Department Struck With Ransomware

Ransomware hit the City of North Miami Beach’s police department last week, according to Security Week, but no public safety services were delayed or stopped. The city revealed that normal operations of the police department are still taking place. Once the attack was discovered, the department’s computers were shut down by IT staff right away who also informed both the Secret Service and FBI of the incident, says the article. So far, it is unknown whether or not any data of residents, vendors, or employees was affected by the incident. According to the article, the type of ransomware has not yet been shared either.


Ransomware Attack Targets Puerto Rico’s Government, Steals $2.6 Million

Another day, another successful phishing scam. One of the agencies of Puerto Rico’s government is the latest victim of a phishing attack, with the criminals convincing an employee that they were sending remittance payments, but the account that the money was being wired to was fake, says Info Security Magazine. The transfer was sent on January 17th by Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company, whose purpose is to encourage economic development by working with both foreign and local investors. The company lost $2.6 million in the scam and it remains unknown whether or not any of the money has been or will be recovered, Info Security says.

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