The scariest cyber attacks of 2022
A cyberattack is always scary, but in 2022, the severity of cybercrime reached new heights. The average cost of a data breach in the United States reached $9.44 million, and healthcare – for the 12th year in a row – was the biggest target. What were some of the most terrifying and devastating cyber attacks this year? Here’s our Halloween special roundup.
1. The Russian hacker group Conti paralyzes Costa Rica
In April, the Russian-linked cyber gang known as Conti disrupted banking operations in Costa Rica. They successfully attacked the Ministry of Finance and crippled Costa Rica’s import/export industry. The declaration of a national crisis was unprecedented for a ransomware program.
Late in May there was another attempt to attack the Social Security Fund. This has also been linked to Conti due to the use of Hive ransomware, whose creation he/she is associated with. With Halloween coming up, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the truly scary and serious consequences that coordinated cyber attacks can have.
2. Clop stops Windows systems
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your data until you pay a ransom to the hackers. “Clop” is among the newest and most dangerous ransomware attacks. It is a variant of the infamous CryptoMix ransomware, which often attacks Windows users.
Before encrypting your data, the Clop ransomware stops over 600 Windows processes and various Windows 10 programs, especially Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials, leaving users with little hope of preserving their data.
Since its debut, Clop ransomware has evolved towards attacking large networks rather than just individual machines. Even Maastricht University in the Netherlands fell victim to the Clop ransomware, which encrypted almost all Windows PCs on the university’s network and demanded payment. Halloween is when we should remember the scary effects of cybercrime on ordinary users who may not always pay the necessary attention to device security.
3. Ransomware group Lapsus$ threatens to leak Nvidia data
In February 2022, the largest semiconductor chip manufacturer in the world was hacked by a ransomware outbreak. The organization confirmed that the malicious actors had begun exposing employee credentials and sensitive data online.
Lapsus$, a ransomware organization, claimed credit for the attack and stated that they had 1 terabyte of exfiltrated organizational data that they would release online. In addition, it asked for a million dollars and part of an unspecified sum from Nvidia. Nvidia quickly responded to the ransomware attack by strengthening security and immediately enlisting cyber incident response professionals to contain the problem.
Halloween reminds us that not even the largest companies are immune to the fear caused by cyber attacks, and it is important to have a tactical response always in place, like Nvidia.
4. Portal misconfigurations lead to a data breach and cause panic
Just days after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the concealed carry permit law in late June, an unrelated data breach may have exposed the personal information of anyone who signed up for a concealed carry permit in California between 2011 and 2021.
The breach compromised information including names, ages, residences and license types. A malfunction in the California Department of Justice 2022 Firearms Dashboard portal exposed information that should not have been available to the public. Private and public sector organizations should use this time between Halloween and the end of the quarter to strengthen security systems and prevent such incidents from happening in 2022.
5. Uber suffers from a scary hack with purely malicious intent
Uber, one of the world’s top companies, realized it had been hacked in mid-September 2022. In the company’s Slack channel, the hacker said, “I’m a hacker and Uber has experienced a data breach,” followed by several emojis. This prompted the company to disable internal communications and technical equipment to investigate the situation.
The hacker also claimed to be able to break into many corporate databases, including messaging data. Uber notified the authorities after discovering that a hacker had infiltrated an employee’s account. Uber has experienced cyber attacks in the past and failed to notify, resulting in a legal dispute and a fine of thousands of dollars. This time they were fair and tried to prevent a similar problem from happening again.
To avoid such horrors during Halloween, the holidays and year-round, businesses need threat intelligence and root cause analysis capabilities that work with legal teams.
6. Drones attack an (unnamed) financial firm in the US
In 2022, a financial institution on the east coast of the United States that specialized in private investments noticed strange activity on its internal Atlassian Confluence site. Security personnel determined that the activity came from their own network. Responders then performed integrated Wi-Fi tracking to locate the source of the duplicate signal.
Wi-Fi tracking took the crew to the top of the building, where they spotted two different DJI drones. One of these carried a custom Wi-Fi Pineapple (a device used by security for penetration testing) that mimicked the Wi-Fi network employees typically connected to. In one case, an employee’s device was connected to the Wi-Fi Pineapple-run fake Wi-Fi network, and attackers were able to capture the data, which also included user login credentials and Wi-Fi details.
The fear factor associated with Halloween also reminds us how new technology can entail unexpected risks, such as the use of drones to physically breach the company’s network.
7. Metaverse game Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge gets hacked worth $625 million
In March 2022, the largest crypto hack ever measured in fiat currency occurred. The bulk of the crypto keys protecting the play-to-win game’s cross-chain bridge were compromised by hackers. 4 of the 9 keys were taken after an Axie developer opened a PDF containing a fake job offer. Ronin Bridge was later restored with more validators, but the game is losing users at an alarming rate.
On the occasion of Halloween 2022, let’s remember that no technology – even crypto – is completely immune to cybercriminals, and without constant vigilance, it could cost us valuable business.
8. Hackers commit cybercrime and expose financial data to condemn Freedom Convoy protests
The hijacking of the Christian fundraising website GiveSendGo in February occurred in connection with the Ottawa truckers’ demonstrations. It put the personal data of everyone who contributed to their finances at risk.
As part of a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, the hackers changed the donation website to a page condemning the Freedom Convoy demonstrations. The private details of the 90,000 contributors who had donated to the campaign through the website GiveSendGo were later made public. This Halloween special cybercrime example reminds us that activists can commit cyberattacks often without a financial motive, and consumer payment systems must be made doubly secure.
These eight scary incidents tell: cyber attacks will become increasingly common in a digital, hyper-connected world, and it’s important not to be caught off guard. Halloween means we’re nearing the end of the year and need to start preparing our defenses for 2023. To learn how, be sure to check out our guide on Ransomware: The Path Ahead.