A worldwide investigation into a powerful hacking collective has effectively put a two-week hold on the continued dissemination of malware from that criminal group, according to Sky News.
Officials were first tipped off to the presence of several powerful strains of malware when they received a multitude of reports from victims scattered around the world. The two main malicious culprits behind the widespread attacks are GoZeuS, a botnet, and CryptoLocker, a piece of ransomware.
Authorities realized that these and other attacks were likely coming from the same Eastern European-based group of gangs and quickly went about pinpointing its source. But according to the UK’s National Crime Agency, the attackers have already wrought significant damages and are responsible for between 500,000 and 1 million attacks so far.
According to Metro, the FBI and NCA’s investigation led to the authorities’ being able to put a temporary hold on the criminal group’s activities. But the emphasis here is on temporary, since officials say that the command and control functions they’ve been able to disrupt will only be kept at bay for two weeks before the criminal element regains power.
The malware being used by the criminal gangs has been so successful at attacks because it’s expert at dressing itself up as valid content. Victims get an email with an apparently safe link, not realizing that as soon as they open it, their system will fall into the grasp of hackers
The two-week embargo on this criminal operation is not an especially long period of time, but it does provide a valuable window for companies to firm up enterprise security. Here are some of the proactive measures businesses can take during this time:
- Implement strong authentication strategies: No matter how strong a hacker, he or she is no match for a stronger authentication system. By deploying a robust authentication strategy, a company can take a significant step toward keeping any malicious intrusion at bay. Particularly useful for enterprises is two-tiered authentication, which creates an additional wall through which people attempting to access the company server must pass. This second security wall can prove invaluable in preventing a hacker from breaking in.
- Educate employees about the virtues of safe computing: An entire company’s infrastructure can fall victim to an attack because one employee opens a malware-laden email attachment. For this reason, it’s imperative that security knowledge be general business knowledge shared with all staff members, not just the ones in IT. Teaching employees about the malicious climate facing enterprises can play a vital role in ensuring that those staffers never do anything to compromise security.
- Keep tabs on attacks: Malware makes headlines every day, yet across the world businesses aren’t doing enough to defend against it. A large part of this inactivity can be chalked up to a lack of knowledge about the worldwide threat posed by virtual intrusions. As a business, it is always detrimental to exist in a bubble. By following general security news, you can equip your business with the foresight to prevent an attack.