As online and at-home banking options become more accessible, more online activity increases the risk of theft. Since 2021, IBM reported that the average cost of a breach rose from $4.24 million to $4.35 million.
Cybersecurity is one of the main factors to incorporate into your organization’s recession planning. One notorious online cybercriminal group, the Cobalt Cybercrime Gang, has been operating since 2013, completing over 100 heists totaling over EUR 10 billion in losses to the European financial industry. In a time when attackers are highly motivated and financial and reputational losses can have significant effects, it is crucial to have a clear picture and action plan regarding your cybersecurity posture.
With new threats emerging daily, it is essential to identify and address technical and operational risks proactively. Ensuring reliable and uninterrupted function of your operations during an incident means preparing for, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from a cyberattack.
A recession can occur unexpectedly with little to no warning and leave companies vulnerable to opportunistic and persistent threat actors. The two-fold impact of an economic downturn would be that companies reduce spending, often cybersecurity spending, and highly skilled individuals across the globe become desperate for income, possibly turning to “black hat” or malicious hacking. Successful cyberattacks lead to significant financial and reputational losses. Businesses need a mature cybersecurity program that is resilient to today’s complex and often uncertain threat environment.
As clients begin to recognize and prepare against the threat of ransomware attacks, one tricky question keeps coming up. Is paying a ransom “illegal yet?”. No company is champing at the bit to make unplanned payments, especially not to potential terrorists on the OFAC list, but the legality of the matter depends on a few factors. *Please note that ProCircular does not provide legal advice, rather, we disseminate guidance from the top legal authorities.
As a cybersecurity professional and business owner, I keep a close eye on the everchanging recommendations surrounding ransomware attacks and incident management. I found the following document to be one of the more up-to-date (at least by government standards) and straightforward pieces available on the topic. Here's the short version:
“In the context of hostage-taking, for example, DOJ clarified in 2015 that it “has never used the material support statute to prosecute a hostage’s family or friends for paying a ransom for the safe return of their loved one.”67
Basically, there is a low likelihood of prosecution for making ransom payments, even when it is paid to a known threat actor on the OFAC denied persons list. I would only expect to see legal action taken if a very large company went through with the payment while it was expressly illegal. Even then, the punishment would be intended to make an example rather than punish the victim.
New cyberattacks are discovered every single day. Organizations should not be considering if they will be attacked, but rather when they will be attacked and what proactive measures must be taken to ensure the company will survive.
Topics: Incident Response
Incident Response is a series of investigative and remedial steps that a company takes in the event of a breach or other security incident. These restoration efforts can include backtracking through log data, isolating affected machines, and even negotiating with cyberterrorists!