Ahead of the Labor Day Holiday, the FBI and CISA Warn of Ransomware Risk Over Weekends and Holidays – E Hacking News


Ahead of the Labour Day holiday coming about this weekend, CISA and the FBI have released joint advisory warning organizations of increased ransomware attack risk on weekends and holidays. 

Over the past few months, the government agencies have noticed a relative increase in ‘highly destructive’ ransomware attacks being launched by attackers on long weekends and holidays. Reportedly, these time frames – holidays, especially long weekends – are viewed as attractive time slots by cybercriminals to deploy ransomware due to a lower level of defense during weekends which maximizes the impact of infiltration. The physical absence of the personnel plays a significant role when the offices are normally closed. 

The FBI and CISA noted that the recent cyberattacks that crippled high-profile US entities were all scheduled by hackers over weekends. The cited case studies include recent attacks against JBS, Kaseya, and Colonial Pipeline. 

In May 2021, the DarkSide ransomware operators launched the Colonial Pipeline attack, around Mother’s Day weekend. The data was stolen on May 06, 2021, and the malware attack occurred on May 07, 2021. 

In May 2021, the world’s largest meat processing organization, JBS, experienced a cyberattack by the REvil ransomware group that disabled its beef and pork slaughterhouses. This attack took place on May 30, 2021 – leading into the Memorial Day public holiday. 

In July 2021 –  building on the weekend attack trend – Kaseya, a leading software provided to over 40,000 organizations, suffered a sophisticated cyberattack yet again by REvil ransomware. The attack was carried out on July 2nd, 2021 ahead of the Independence Day holiday in the United States on July 4th.  

“The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which provides the public with a trustworthy source for reporting information on cyber incidents, received 791,790 complaints about all types of internet crime — a record number — from the American public in 2020, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion,” the advisory read.

The two agencies clarify that as of now there are no clear indications of a cyberattack that will take place around the oncoming ‘Labour Day holiday’, however, the alert warns that the threat actors have carried out increasingly damaging cyberattacks around holidays and weekends over the past several months. Therefore, the FBI and CISA urge the organizations to not lower their defenses while providing information on how to effectively combat the increasingly worsening threat of cyberattacks. They advised organizations to strengthen their security, minimize their exposure, and potentially “engage in preemptive threat hunting on their networks to search for signs of threat actors.” 

“Threat actors can be present on a victim network long before they lock down a system, alerting the victim to the ransomware attack. Threat actors often search through a network to find and compromise the most critical or lucrative targets. Many will exfiltrate large amounts of data. Threat hunting encompasses the following elements of understanding the IT environment by developing a baseline through a behavior-based analytics approach, evaluating data logs, and installing automated alerting systems.” The joint advisory further said.



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