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Hacks, Attacks and Breaches: 1/15/2020 – 1/21/2020

Suzanne Gassman

Here’s the latest installment of the Hacks, Attacks and Breaches cybersecurity news update.

The Logically team provides top cyber security stories every week to keep you up-to-date on the latest news headlines on cybersecurity, hacking, computer security, ransomware and other cybersecurity threats.

United States - LimeLeads 
 Unsecured database
LimeLeads: B2B lead generation service

Risk to Small Business: LimeLeads failed to secure an internal server, allowing a prominent threat actor to acquire and subsequently sell the company’s data on the Dark Web. The data breach could have significant implications for the company, whose business model centers around brokering company data for marketing initiatives. Security researchers found that the database was publicly exposed since at least July 27, 2019, meaning that the company had ample time to secure the database before bad actors became involved. Now they must grapple with crippling losses, including the less quantifiable brand erosion that accompanies a data breach.

How It Could Affect Your Business: Customers and companies are increasingly unwilling to partner with organizations that can’t secure their data. Consequently, avoidable data breaches are an especially egregious way to compromise a company’s long-term viability. Inevitably, mistakes will be made, but identifying those errors and making corrections before hackers can capitalize on the information is critical to any defensive posture.

United States - New Albany Airport
Exploit: Ransomware attack
New Albany Airport: New York-based airport authority

Risk to Small Business: A ransomware attack on one of the airport’s MSPs spread to its servers, encrypting backup files, administrative information, and other resources. Fortunately, the malware did not extend to the Albany International Airport or airline computers. However, the company was forced to pay a five-figure ransom to recover their information. The attack’s effectiveness was predicated on the organization’s outdated hardware and lax cybersecurity standards. In response, the New Albany Airport Authority terminated its contract with the MSP and is taking steps to upgrade its defensive posture.

How it Could Affect Your Business: This incident underscores the cascading consequences of a data breach. For the New Albany Airport Authority, they will bear the financial cost of recovery while their MSP will lose an important contract since they failed to protect their customers’ IT. From both directions, it’s clear that data security failure is a deal breaker in today’s digital environment.

United States - Manor Independent School District
Exploit: Phishing scam
Manor Independent School District: Public school district

Risk to Small Business: Hackers successfully executed a phishing scam against employees, and they used the stolen credentials to siphon $2.3 million from the district. It took three separate transactions to acquire a significant sum, but their efforts were ultimately successful. The lost funds are just the start of an expensive process that will undoubtedly involve updating cybersecurity protocols, implementing employee awareness training, and upgrading IT infrastructure.

How it Could Affect Your Business: While some companies might be reticent to invest in employee awareness training, this incident demonstrates that the cost of a successful phishing scam far exceeds the expense of preventative measures. The district is working to recoup lost funds but is not likely to emerge unscathed. This news offers a cautionary tale for organizations of all shapes and sizes; preventative measures are only effective if they are implemented before a breach occurs.