Attacks/Breaches

7/7/2017
12:50 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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NotPetya: How to Prep and Respond if You're Hit

Security pros share practices to prepare and handle advanced malware attacks like NotPetya.
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(Image: Lagarto Film via Shutterstock)

(Image: Lagarto Film via Shutterstock)

Last week's massive ransomware attack, driven by malware that security experts have dubbed NotPetya (aka Petya/ExPetr/GoldenEye), primarily targeted companies in Ukraine but affected business operations in about 65 countries around the world.

This was the second major global cyberattack within the past two months, following the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. Experts say the most recent outbreak was intended more for destruction than financial gain, and it was conducted by highly skilled threat actors.

The malware's authors demand $300 in bitcoin for ransom, but research following the attack has shown this malware modifies the Master Boot Record in a way that makes data recovery impossible. Attackers injected a backdoor into Ukrainian accounting software as a means of collecting sensitive data, which can be used to cause further damage to businesses.

Dr. Chris Pierson, CSO of Viewpost, explains how this attack seeks to prove the model of propagation without human intervention, focusing on weaknesses in patching and lack of security controls.

"As with all cybercrime attacks -- if this type of attack vector pays off for these hackers, it will be replicated by others and further honed," he notes.

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The spread of last week's malware showed where organizations are failing in their defensive security strategies. Many aren't prepared to defend against an attack of this level or properly respond when -- not if -- one hits them.

"There is no 100-percent foolproof strategy for blocking cyberattacks, short of swearing off computers, email, and the Internet," says CompTIA CIO Randy Gross. "But there are steps that can and should be taken to heighten defenses, starting with making sure that all systems are up-to-date."

Here, experts share recommended practices to prepare for an attack like this, and steps security pros can take following an incident to mitigate its effects on the organization.

 

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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jenshadus
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jenshadus,
User Rank: Strategist
7/10/2017 | 8:35:09 AM
What about replicated COOP scenarios
Just curious of how a malware attack would affect an active-active DR scenario.  If the malware can infect a primary target, I would think it would affect the backup environment.  And what would this do to the backup recovery plans?  Sounds like the best bet is to still use tape backup.
randyfromsd
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randyfromsd,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/11/2017 | 4:23:26 PM
Re: What about replicated COOP scenarios
Isolate the backup target from the network - make shares hidden so they aren't easily accessible - restrict user accounts - implement local\offsite backup.
RobEnns
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RobEnns,
User Rank: Author
7/13/2017 | 2:56:59 PM
Re: What about replicated COOP scenarios
Very good question, interested in the same.
matt.trevors
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matt.trevors,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2017 | 12:13:55 PM
We need to stop confusing end users
We in the security community have a very difficult time conveying the importance of various strategies and tactics to end users when it comes to securing their infrastructure.  I believe it in part is because we aren't promoting a unified message. Instead, we tell them what we "think" are the right things to do.  Instead, why don't you preach about the adoption of existing well-documented strategies and tactics?  For instance, you could have pointed end users to the Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls (formerly SANS 20) which would include standing up an incident response plan, patching boxes, and backing up high-value assets.  Also, you could have pointed people to NIST 800-61 Computer Security Incident Handling Guide which would give them a good idea of how to stand up incident response capabilities for their organization (planning, detection & analysis, containment, eradication, recovery, and post-incident activities).  Finally, you are dancing around the NIST Cybersecurity Framework which includes functions, categories, and subcategories that describe how to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.  

As a community, we need to get better at getting our message across or things are never going to get better.  To do that, we all need to get on the same page and back published standards.  If you don't agree with the standards, most encourage community feedback.
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