Security in the Cradle of High-Technology Yip Yap

June 30, 2020

DarkCyber spotted this story:

How Hackers Extorted $1.14m from University of California, San Francisco

One would think that UCSF, an educational institution with tech savvy professionals located in the cradle of the US high-technology industry would have effective security systems in place. Wouldn’t one?

The write up reports:

The Netwalker criminal gang attacked University of California San Francisco (UCSF) on 1 June. IT staff unplugged computers in a race to stop the malware spreading. And an anonymous tip-off enabled BBC News to follow the ransom negotiations in a live chat on the dark web.

The article is one of those “how to be a bad actor” write ups which DarkCyber often finds discomfiting. Do these “real” news people want to provide information, or is there an inner desire to step outside the chummy walls of reporting? DarkCyber does not know.

The BBC points out:

Most ransomware attacks begin with a booby-trapped emaiI and research suggests criminal gangs are increasingly using tools that can gain access to systems via a single download. In the first week of this month alone, Proofpoint’s cyber-security analysts say they saw more than one million emails with using a variety of phishing lures, including fake Covid-19 test results, sent to organizations in the US, France, Germany, Greece, and Italy.

DarkCyber has a few questions; to wit:

  1. What vendors’ products are safe guarding UCSF?
  2. Who is in charge of anti phishing solutions at UCSF?
  3. What specific gaps exist at UCSF?
  4. What is the total amount of money UCSF spends on cyber security?
  5. How much “value” has been lost due to direct payment and down time, staff time, and running around not knowing what’s going on time?
  6. How about some quotes from the cyber security providers’ marketing material regarding the systems’ anti-phishing effectiveness?

Skip the how to, please. Focus on the facts that create the vulnerability. Just a thought.

Stephen E Arnold, June 30, 2020

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