Ukraine’s cyber-attack – What happened?

In the light of this week’s events, we have seen two major cyber-attacks emerge; affecting mainly the UK and Ukraine. The target of the attack in Ukraine was the Chernobyl nuclear site, with the aim of rattling the automatic radiation monitoring system. The aftermath of this attack left workers having to use hand-held counters to obtain measurements of radiation accurately. Also, due to the attack, the website of the nuclear plant and the Windows system used by the site are currently offline.

This attack has already been labelled as the “biggest in Ukraine’s history” of cyber-attacks, but we have learned that they weren’t they only ones affected by the event. Reports suggest that the outbreak has swept other countries – including the UK, Spain and India. Cyber-security experts suggest that the nature of the software seems to be functioning similarly to the immense “WannaCry” attack which impacted the NHS in recent weeks. Some examples of the other organisations that were struck in this affair were Danish shipping company Maersk and British advertising agency WPP. According to security experts, there is a strong chance that these incidents could add up to trump the WannaCry attack, which would be foreseen as there was said the be a repeat attack that would be launched sometime after the initial dealings with WannaCry back in May.

UK cyber-attack – What happened?

According to recent reports, it’s believed that the Russian government are the prime suspects to carrying out a cyber-attack on parliament that breached a substantial amount of email accounts belonging to MPs and peers. However, the investigation is still at an early stage which means that the assailant responsible for the attack may not be entirely decided yet. Nonetheless, Moscow is deemed the most likely culprit.

The people working to diffuse this issue are concerned that the breach of these emails could lead to blackmail attempts. MP’s were forced to be locked out of their own email account whilst officials attempt to deter any more damage caused by the attack. The network which was targeted by the harmful software is used by every MP. Prime Minister, Theresa May and her cabinet ministers use this network for dealing with constituents. The British security services believe that the identity behind the attack is more likely to be the doing of another state rather than a small group of individual hackers.

The attack on the emails of MP’s was the direct result of accounts protected by weak passwords. Changes had to be made on the vulnerable accounts to block out the hackers, which left the only option of staff being unable to access their emails. A parliamentary spokesman said those whose emails were compromised were due to weak passwords. Investigations are currently in-process, but it has become clear that significantly fewer than 1% of the 9,000 accounts on the parliamentary network has been compromised. It appears that the immediate actions taken to block remote access have tackled the attack quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, this leaves the UK’s elected representatives unable to respond to constituents.

At Fresh01 we are experts in helping companies implement an appropriate strategy for enhancing preventive cyber-security measures. We have worked with corporate giants such as British Gas, Prudential, and JP Morgan. Here, we provided advice and guidance for their cyber-awareness strategies and deployed exceptional interactive learning courses through the use of learning management software, gamification and video.