New Cyber Threats And Cybercrime Groups Have Surfaced

Luke Fitzpatrick

In recent weeks, there have been a couple of new cyber threats that have surfaced. These cybercriminals consist of either individuals or teams of people that are using technology to commit malicious crimes. Their end goal is to steal sensitive information that they can use to generate profit.

Some of the more common cybercriminals include identity thieves, internet stalkers, and phishing scammers. DarkSide is one such cybercrime group. Even though this group has only been around for less than two weeks, they pose a serious threat as they coordinate highly targeted attacks that earn them a hefty profit. Who exactly is DarkSide, and what are some other cyber threats that have popped up in recent weeks?

Darkside Threat

Antoine Bechara says that “Darkside is a new ransomware family that has been created by this cybercrime group. The individuals behind this ransomware threaten to publish data of specific victims if they don’t pay the amount demanded.” At least one victim has already paid the $1 million dollars that this cybercrime group has demanded.

Individuals are targeted based on the company’s financial capability, and it’s from accessing these files that the group determines how much their targets should pay. Sources indicate that the group will not target medical, education, nonprofit, and government organizations, and will only target companies that can pay the specified ransom. The amounts range from $200,000 to $2 million dollars, but the amount gets doubled if the initial payment window isn’t met. If payment isn’t made, the criminals threaten to publish all data, store it for at least six months, and send it through to various stakeholders.

Aside from DarkSide, there have also been other ransomware gangs that have demanded similar amounts. NetWalker is one such ransomware gang that targeted the University of California and demanded a $1 million dollar ransom.

Negasteal/Agent Tesla Threat

Phishing is another cyber threat that has been around for a while. It involves attempts to obtain personal information through the sending of fraudulent emails that contain malicious attachments. Negasteal/Agent Tesla by Trend Micro is one such group that had been targeting account holders of Krung Thai Bank.

The email contains a message informing the recipient of an outward remittance transaction that amounts to almost US$9,000. This prompts individuals to download an attachment that runs a malware payload on the individual’s device. The group has been around since 2014 and has sent stolen information through web panels, FTP or SMTP.

Mitigating against threats

With these new threats taking the cyber world by storm, it’s vital that companies are bolstering their cybersecurity infrastructure to defend themselves against these threats. While taking a look at security hygiene basics and data backups are key, organizations need to go one step further and make security a critical business priority.

Some things that businesses can do include ensuring that everything is patched and up to date, implementing strong authentication in all systems, only downloading apps from official stores, regularly updating software and applications, and equipping systems with the necessary security solutions. Aside from that, cybersecurity also starts from within the company; employees should be educated on potential threats and taught never to click and download attachments from emails that are from untrustworthy sources.

Looking towards the future

Cybersecurity threats are only going to continue to evolve in this technological age. It’s imperative that companies have the necessary infrastructure to defend themselves against these threats and are kept abreast of developments.

Companies should also have their own cybersecurity departments or individuals that help with reducing the company’s insecurity footprint. Small companies that don’t have the budget to create their own department can consider outsourcing their security services to a managed service that can help optimize your network security and protect against potential threats.

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Academic Speaker | Freelance Journalist | I have contributed to a variety of publications such as Forbes, Tech In Asia, and The Next Web. I cover a variety of topics ranging from fintech, big data, AI, blockchain, to lifestyle and breaking news stories.


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