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Unlikely victims of malware highlight its dangers

The other victims of cyber and malware attacks

Crop hacker silhouette typing on computer keyboard while hacking system

Ransomware and malware attacks are aptly associated with IT and cyber-operations. But it isn’t only tech-reliant companies pushing papers and selling wares on websites that are victims of third-party attacks.

Hackers have a variety of goals. Some, for example, operate for geopolitical purposes. When COVID-19 vaccination plans were rolling out, malicious actors heightened their efforts to disrupt information and hopefully disrupt its distribution in order to sow as much chaos as possible. After all, if you’re an opposing government force, a low-risk operation that sows discontent amongst your political enemies is a no-brainer.

It’s always worth remembering: hackers are both relentless and callous. There’s a reason we refer to them as “malicious actors,” and it’s because of the human cost involved. It’s easy to boggle at huge losses associated with cyber breaches, numbering in the millions. But often we forget who is impacted. From workers to customers to people who had nothing to do with an enterprise breach.

Take, for example, a breach that successfully impacted a grocery chain and created a food shortage. Albert Heijn, a worldwide food provider, found its serviced disrupted post-breach. More specifically, one of its major suppliers, 

Bakker Logistiek, suffered a cyber attack. Once the breach occurred, the supplier had to shut off all IT systems and approach its order fulfillment and logistics with traditional methods. That translated to digital orders getting cut off, creating a lag in deliveries.

Supermarkets with backlogs of orders were short on cheese, thankfully (although the lamenting loss of a good cheddar is understandable). Not thankfully, though, is the premise a major food provider and their delivery counterpart were caught in the crossfire. Imagine this scenario on a wider scale with people unable to get necessities in the event of a larger breach.

Other unusual victims

Grocery chains aren’t the only unlikely targets. CS:GO, an extremely popular game by Valve (which uses the Source Engine) is currently vulnerable to deception attacks. Steam, the program operating as a massive media library, can host malicious invites which can steal a user’s credentials, quite similar to phishing attacks we routinely see.

Another victim, a major pharmaceutical brand Pierre Fabre finds itself a victim of a breach by REvil, a notorious cyber gang that demanded a $25 million ransom. The company managed to curtail the attack by placing its systems in standby mode.

If completely encrypted and compromised, thousands of staff would be affected and numerous customers as well. 

On a more serious note, though, cyber-attacks are fast reaching a point where repercussions won’t stop at investigations and proactive defenses. Some experts see the potential for armed conflict in retaliation to them. It’s hard not to see why considering some cyber attacks are clandestine operations carried about state actors.

What it means

You won’t need much convincing that threat actors are dangerous and malware remains a serious problem. But it’s also worth highlighting that breaches are shifting out of the cyber enterprise sphere, impacting us in ways we never considered. Even if you weren’t a customer of a store or related to its supply chain, those consequences can still reach us.

Society is growing increasingly reliant on technology. In fact, we have no problem asserting that accessible, fast internet is a basic utility, and necessary to operate in today’s fast-paced world. Therefore, the consequential impact of breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing hit us harder. Worse yet, many insist the volume of attacks is suffocating defense responses, leaving networks and individuals mired in a minefield of problems.

That isn’t to suggest we’re all helpless. And in fact, it’s not good to imagine malicious attacks as a world-ending threat that can only be handled by the best experts at the top levels. We’re all more than capable of handling attacks, and in fact, most are thwarted with good cyber hygiene. But, by examining the different victims of breaches outside what you normally see, it keeps things in perspective. 

Still worried about being a victim? Bytagig can help. Contact us today for additional information.

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