Finnish Authorities Beef Up Over 20 Entities Against Prospective Ransomware Attacks 

The year 2019 has been plagued with exit scams, crackdowns and lots of ransomware attacks. Exit scams and crypto exchange hacks have slowed in recent weeks, but ransomware attacks continue to follow the industry like a bad smell. Ransomware attacks, sadly, have been more of the latter. However, while the scourge of ransomware attacks lingers in the industry, authorities in Finland are working out preventive measures to stop it dead in its tracks. 

Preparing for the worst 

On November 22, Finnish news outlet Yle reported that the Finnish Population Register Centre had instituted a program to help over 200 cities and companies in the country to respond effectively to ransomware attacks and ransom threats. According to the post, the program will take all participants through protecting themselves from prospective attacks, as well as training them on how to respond to ransom requests from hackers. 

As part of the operation, the regulator confronted all participants with simulated attack scenarios on their systems. Per the organizers, the exercise was aimed at strengthening the ability of the companies and cities to handle cyber attacks and respond effectively, thus ensuring that they don’t have to lose any of their revenues to these attackers or lose out on any of their valuable data.  

The Population Register Centre has already organized two practice days, and a third is also set to hold in the coming week. 

Ransomware attackers are making bank 

Of course, the rationale for this is quite understandable. While they took the back seat among cyber threats faced by computer owners last year, ransomware attacks have been on the upsurge so far this year.

Back in August, poplar Internet security giant McAfee Labs reported in its McAfee Labs Threats Report: August 2019, there has been more than a 100 percent increase in the incidence of ransomware attacks its year alone. The report, which was published on August 28, explained that ransomware attackers have been able to make nifty changes to their source codes and deploy ore targets attacks, tactics which have helped increase the number of their prospective victims significantly. 

The report also showed that the most active forms of ransomware were Ryuk, GandCarb, and Dharma. Other ransomware families were also given credit, as the report noted that new variants have increased by 118 percent in the period under consideration as well.

 Earlier this month, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), an oil company based out of Mexico, was hit by a ransomware attack that saw its administrative activities ground to a halt. Citing a company official, news medium Reuters reported that the hackers were able to gain access to the company’s systems by using Ryuk, the most dangerous of all ransomware to date. 

By getting access to the company’s servers across the country, hackers were able to encrypt critical information and keep company officials locked out of their network. A day later, Reuters reported that the attackers had sent a ransom note to the company, asking for $5 million in Bitcoin. 

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