Regardless of their sector, size, and age, businesses can enjoy a competitive edge over their rivals thanks to the internet and its many tools, but it also brings cyber threats in many forms. With technological advancements, cybercriminals are also becoming more skilled at finding holes and cracks in organizations’ security systems and can gain access to essential data, posing a significant cybersecurity threat. According to a survey cyberattacks in 2021 were increased by 50% in comparison to 2020.
What is cyberattack?
Cyberattack is a technical term for unauthorized access of confidential data or alteration of IT infrastructures.
What are the implications of cyber attacks for a business?
The implications of cyber attacks for a business are many, and some of the prominent ones are mentioned below –
- A business subject to a cyber attack will lose a lot of money in the form of ransom payments, decreasing company valuation, client loyalty, reputation, unauthorized money transfers, drop in sales, etc.
- Cyberattacks leave a business with a tarnished reputation. Customers of the brand or business that has been loyal for decades will slowly move on and start making transactions with the company’s rivals. The reason is simple – data privacy and security matters a lot these days. If a business cannot protect its client’s data, it will lose face. It is as simple as that.
- Cyberattacks come in the way of business continuity. A simple denial of service attack on the official website of a digital marketing company will compel the firm’s prospective clients to leave its website and visit the websites of the firm’s rivals.
Prominent cyberattacks of 2021
Every year, countless cyberattacks take place all over the globe. The following sections are a summary of three prominent cyberattacks in 2021.
Here goes –
1. Colonial Pipeline
Cybercriminal group DarkSide gained access to Colonial Pipeline’s systems and then went ahead to shut down a fuel supply line that feeds the East Coast.
They demanded a ransom of $4.4 million, which was quickly met by the Colonial Pipeline’s CEO.
The implications of the attack –
- Apart from the monetary loss, this attack also proved that cybercriminals now have the skills and technology to launch large scale attacks on industrial targets.
- The attack also proved that cybercriminals can now target critical infrastructure.
How was this attack carried out?
The cybercriminals at DarkSide used compromised VPN credentials to access Colonial Pipeline’s IT infrastructure.
Another major cyberattack in 2021 was the one carried out at Kaseya by REvil as it came with a $70 million ransom.
The attack took place before the onset of the 4th of July holiday weekend.
The attack came in two phases.
The first phase of the attack consisted of the cybercriminals exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Kaseya VSA software. This allowed the criminals to have unabated access to Kaseya’s VSA servers.
The second phase of the attack occurred when the cybercriminals used Kaseya’s VSA servers to deploy REvil ransomware across countless MSPs (Managed Service Providers).
After deploying the ransomware, REvil demanded a $70 million ransom from Kaseya.
Implications of the attack –
The experts at Kaseya estimate that the attack affected less than sixty of its customers.
The number of affected organizations was in the 800 – 1,500 range to put that into perspective.
The affected organizations were a few schools in New Zealand, a Swedish grocery store chain, and hundreds of SMEs!
3. REvil’s attack on Quanta
Back in April 2021, REvil – the ransomware-as-a-service group from Russia launched an attack at Quanta – a dedicated supplier to Apple Inc. The attack came with a $50 million ransom.
According to the reports put forward by IBM X-Force, it is estimated that REvil has made at least $123 million as profits during the 2020 fiscal year after it stole more than 21 terabytes of data from various sources and put it up for sale in the deep web.
The implications of the attack are as follows –
- All data of Quanta gained by REvil was quickly encrypted.
- The attackers demanded that Quanta pays up the ransom or else the company won’t be able to access their data.
- Quite a few future Apple product design blueprints were accessed by REvil. The hacking group put forth their double-extortion technique and demanded Apple pays up the ransom or else they would leak the product blueprints on the deep web.
Cyberattacks are not always targeted towards prominent brands and established businesses. Small to medium-scale enterprises can also fall prey to cyberattacks. The solution is simple – one must make sure that their business is backed by a revered cybersecurity service provider.