Week 7 Cyberattack Digest 2019 – Bank of Valletta, VFEmail, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others

Are you craving for some hot cyber attack news? Of course, you do, and we have some in our week 7 cyber attack digest.

Malta’s Bank of Valletta suffers a massive cyber attack attempt

by News18 – 14 February 2019

Don’t you think that there have been no  cyber attacks on financial institutions for a long time? Well, here you are.  Bank of Valletta that is responsible for almost half of Malta’s banking transactions, experienced a cyber attack last on Wednesday and had to shut down its operations, close branches and ATMs, and suspend mobile and Internet banking and Internal email.  The organization’s representatives commented that the intrusion was detected on Wednesday morning when discrepancies were spotted during the reconciliation of international transactions. Malefactors broke into its systems and attempted to withdraw €13mil shifting the money overseas. According to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the fraudulent actions involved faking international payments totaling 13 million euros ($14.7 million) to banks in Britain, the United States, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong.  “The money did not come from people’s (accounts) and the amounts have been traced,” Muscat said. The bank also informed its customers that their accounts were “in no way impacted or compromised”.

“Catastrophic destruction” of VFEmail provider  

by CSO Online – 13 February 2019

Not all the consequences of cyber attacks can cause irreparable losses. Still, email provider VFEmail reported that this was the case when an attacker caused “catastrophic destruction” on Monday and managed to destroy all data on U.S. servers, as well as the backup systems. Last  Monday morning, VFEmail’s site, servers, and webmail client went down. A few hours later, VFEmail security specialists revealed they caught a hacker trying to format a backup server. After that, VFEmail tweeted, “I fear all US based data may be lost,” as the malefactor had already wiped all the disks on every server. The same day, free users were recommended to “not attempt to send email” as “there is currently no delivery for free accounts.” The incident page said: “At this time I am unsure of the status of existing mail for US users. If you have your own email client, DO NOT TRY TO MAKE IT WORK. If you reconnect your client to your new mailbox, all your local mail will be lost.”

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website is hacked

by Firstpost – 17 February 2019

The official website of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs became a  victim of a cyber attack last Saturday. The foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal commented that the security experts learned about the attack after complaints were received about the site being inaccessible. Users from several countries, including the ones from Australia, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands could not access the web page. Experts believe that  the attack is originating from India. “The IT team is currently occupied in thwarting the hackers’ onslaught,” Faisal commented. Also, he noticed that the foreign ministry’s website is functioning without any glitches in Pakistan.It is also believed that the hacking of the website of Pakistan’s foreign ministry may be somehow connected a ghastly terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. On Thursday 40 CRPF personnel wer4e killed after a suicide bomber attacked the convoy with a vehicle laden with explosives.

Stolen data is on sale

by SC Media – 12 February 2019

Last week it came to light that a dark web marketplace started selling stolen data. The records are said to be linked to aboutg 617 million user accounts from 16 different websites. Among the affected online services, there are video messaging application Dubsmash (162 million accounts affected); health apps MyFitnessPal (151 million) and 8fit (20 million); genealogy platform MyHeritage (92 million); content sharing service ShareThis (41 million); Nordstrom’s member-only shopping website HauteLook (28 million); cloud-based video creation service Animoto (25 million); photography sites EyeEm (22 million), Fotolog (16 million) and 500px (15 million); online directory Whitepages (18 million); game portal website Armor Games (11 million); e-book subscription service BookMate (8 million); dating site CoffeeMeetsBagel (6 million), art appreciation website Artsy (1 million); and online learning platform DataCamp (700,000). It is also noteworthy that MyFitnessPal, Animoto and MyHeritage experienced  a data breach last year, which correlated with this latest incident. In fact compromised data mainly consists of individuals’ names, email addresses and hashed or encrypted passwords. However the website claims that the information on sale includes usernames, IP addresses, birthdays, locations, countries, language, interests, account creation dates and security questions and answers. “Leaked credentials leave people vulnerable to account hijacking across all services where they recycle their usernames and passwords,” explained Anurag Kahol, CTO and founder of Bitglass.

As you can see, security experts are not gods, and the compromised data don’t always get recovered or taken back. Secure yourself properly
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