Archive: March 2019

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Ransomware attack hits the state of Georgia
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Un-“tapped” Potential: Gen Z and transactions
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Ratings agency starting to factor in Cyber risk profile

Ransomware attack hits the state of Georgia

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

Jackson County in Georgia has been held ransom after cyber-attackers deployed ransomware that crippled the government’s IT network for 2 weeks. Government officials resorted to coughing up $400,000 in bitcoin to pay the ransom, desperately trying to get out of the offline ‘pen and paper’ situation the attack had left them in. The suspected ransomware, ‘Ryuk’, caught the eye of the authorities at the end of 2018 after it started affecting the printing presses of Tribune Publishing. Due to the highly problematic decryption tool that is provided once the ransom is paid, Ryuk has the frightening capacity to destroy businesses which cannot survive in downtime or do not have restorable backups.

Read further about the incident here: https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/georgia-county-pays-400000-to-ransomware-attackers-a-12159

Un-“tapped” Potential: Gen Z and transactions

By Cameron Abbott and Sara Zokaei Fard

Gen Z, those born between 1995 and 2005, are pushing innovation in the payment and transaction space with higher expectations from mobile experiences. Gone are the days that a credit card was swiped and bank transfers were used, transacting with an iPhone using Apple Pay and using PayPal is now taking the forefront.

American Express has released data showing that 68% of Gen Z’ers say they want instant person-to-person payments! This instantaneous requirement is also reflected in Gen Z’s use of membership programs. Membership cards are a thing of the past with digital rewards programs via apps now replacing cards.

The data also explores what factors would stop Gen Z from using a product or service in contrast to Gen Y. Interestingly, poor responsiveness on social media would stop 9% of Gen Y but more than double that figure, 21% for Gen Z. Even more stunningly four out of five Gen Z’ers are comfortable at openly conceding that they allow social media to influence their purchasing decisions!

The mobile phone is the ubiquitous device of this generation, try to drive their behaviour with yesterday’s technology and paradigms at your peril!

Ratings agency starting to factor in Cyber risk profile

By Cameron Abbott and Wendy Mansell

A recent report released by Moody’s Investors Services has shed some light on which business sectors are most at risk for cyberattacks.

After assessing 35 broad sectors it was concluded that banks, hospitals, security firms and market infrastructure providers face the highest risk. This was based on levels of vulnerability and the potential impact an attack would have.

The key determinative factor for these sectors is that they all rely strongly on technology and the vital role of confidential information in their operations.

The financial repercussions following a cyberattack in each of these sectors is extremely significant when considering the costs of insurance, penalties, consumer impact, potential litigation costs, R&D and technological impact to name a few.

The financial market is so high risk because of the financial and commercial data it holds and ever increasing fact that its services are being offered digitally, across multiple platforms i.e banking mobile/smart watch apps.

On a similar note because medical records are primarily collected and held in electronic form hospitals are very attractive to hackers given the sensitive nature of the data.

While the industries should not be a shock to the reader, it is important for participants in those industries and for suppliers to those participants to realise the risk profile that attaches to them and have procedures in place reflective of those risk levels.  How one manages these risks in now likely to have indirect cost implications when you see ratings agencies like Moody’s assessing these sorts of areas. 

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