On Sunday, March 28th, 2021, the Channel 9 News station in Sydney, Australia, sent out a message on Twitter saying they were under a cyber attack. The incident impacted the network’s ability to produce and air its current events or news programming. The disruption provides yet another example of the continued heightened threat for cyber attacks in 2021. The investigations are still in their early stages, but what is known so far?
What the Cyber Attack Looked Like
The cybercriminals were calculated in their attack, explicitly targeting the news outlet. It appears that they gained access to the network’s system using sophisticated malware to infect it. The attack crippled Channel 9’s email and editing system, which severely hampered functioning. The network instructed staff not to restart or turn on any network computers and told many of them to work from their homes.
Though it is too soon to know for sure, there is speculation that the virus spread through a fraudulent email message sent to employees using the station’s system. This suspect email claimed to be an IT update. Channel 9 resumed its live program reasonably quickly, but since the virus infected the editing systems, it would be more challenging to get up to speed with recorded shows. Repairing the damage could take a lot of money and time. Fixing the vulnerabilities that lead to the attack may take even longer.
How It Happened
Perpetrators often send malware through phishing emails. The criminals take care to make the messages look official, including just enough personal information to fool at least a few people. When a recipient clicks a link or downloads a file, the virus installs on the computer. The malware program then encrypts the information on the computer or within the entire system, making it completely inaccessible.
Many cybercriminals are looking to make money from the attack. They install ransomware and then demand a high payout in return for the key that unlocks the system. In Channel 9’s case, however, there was no demand for money. Instead, a foreign government may have initiated the attack as retribution. There is speculation that the Russian government may be behind the attack on the network because the network featured stories about poisonings that are allegedly connected to the Russian government.
What To Expect Going Forward
It will take some time before investigators fully understand who was involved and the motives behind the attack. As cyber criminals grow increasingly sophisticated in their operations, unraveling attacks becomes more complex, costly, and time-consuming. 2020 was already a year for the records, with more cyber attacks than any previous year.
Attackers have more tools in their toolboxes — such as 5G and artificial intelligence — that allow them to effectively and efficiently take advantage of existing vulnerabilities and bypass cyber security measures. Now, more than ever, your clients must have a clear understanding of their risks and obtain cyber insurance coverage to protect them if they become the victim of cyber attacks in 2021.
About Connected Risk Solutions
At Connected Risk Solutions, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.