Friday, June 30, 2017

Natural catastrophes

We all remember perfectly how years ago, thousands of theories about the end of the world emerged at the end of 2012. These assumptions were based on the fact that the baktun (the Mayan calendar) ended on this date. Evidently, all this fall by the wayside, but it helped many authors to develop stories about apocalypse and to “scare” some people with speeches about the final judgment. One of these stories was developed in the Roland Emmerich film "2012". Without assessing the film, it proposed a destruction of the world based on various natural catastrophes.

The melting of the poles, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes…  in the film occur catastrophe after catastrophe that devastated the population This week, the networks received another wave of cyber attacks that makes us wonder if we will also be facing the end of the digital world.

We are talking specifically about the attack of ransomware Petya of this Tuesday. If we had not have enough with WannaCry, this new modality of malware stopped the world, affecting more than 100 companies among which were big companies like Mondelez, Maersk, MSD, DLA Piper... The ransomware asked the affected ones the payment of 300 € in bitcoins.

But this was not the only catastrophe of the week. The same Monday we found the decision of the UK Parliament about not to allow external access to the mail accounts. The reason? Last Saturday they suffered a brute force attack with the aim of accessing the accounts. The threat lasted more than 12 hours in which cybercriminals were attempting to access accounts of politicians with weak passwords.

To make matters worse, there have been more annoyances these days. Midweekly we discovered that Skype, the popular voicemail and video call service, had a critical vulnerability that allowed hackers to remotely execute malicious code and block the system. Most troubling is that thanks to this vulnerability the cybercriminal does not need interaction. If you use Skype, make sure you have the latest version installed on your devices.

But not all the news has been bad during the week. For example, yesterday we get the notice that Barracuda Networks had released new software that used Artificial Intelligence to stop Spear Phishing attacks and offer solutions. Something that perfectly represents the talks that took place in the Teatro Real Carlos III during the CIGTR summer courses.

Maybe the end of the world is far away, but catastrophes in cybersecurity occur day by day. Sometimes by merit of hackers and sometimes by demerit of us, the users. However, as it happens in the film to which we referred before, we can survive to those catastrophes and fight against the incidences that we find in the network on a daily basis. The secret of our survival (and our data) is to be well protected and informed.


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