Top Cyber Stories for February 2022

Another month. Another slew of cyberattacks. If anyone was under any illusion that 2022 would perhaps see a slowdown of cyberattacks unlike 2021, February decisively put that idea to rest. Attacks targeting a wide range of prominent organizations hit the news.

Ukraine government and bank websites crash

The tensions between Ukraine and Russia eventually culminated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Military conflict has dominated the headlines but the battle may have moved to the cyber sphere as well. Several websites of banks and Ukrainian government departments crashed in late February after DDoS attacks. Also, the HermeticWiper malware was used against targets in Ukraine to render the data on infected equipment unusable.

Ukrainian officials have blamed Russia for attacks in the past. The latest cyberattacks on Ukraine come as authorities and cybersecurity experts in the US, Canada and Europe raise their cyber alertness as they brace for potential attacks by Russia-affiliated hacking groups.

Toyota shuts down factories in Japan 

Toyota Motor Corporation, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world by volume, revenue and market cap, suspended factory operations in Japan for at least a day in response to a cyberattack on a supplier of electronic parts and  plastic components.

The attacker and motive remains unclear. Japan’s Prime Minister promised an investigation to confirm whether the incident is linked to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The attack took place not long after Japan had joined its allies in levying sanctions on Russia and giving aid to Ukraine.

Red Cross data breach

Even humanitarian organizations are not safe. A sophisticated attack compromised sensitive data at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Hackers obtained names, contact and location information of more than half a million individuals receiving services from the ICRC as well as details on about 2,000 volunteers.

The attackers rode on an authentication module’s unpatched vulnerability.

Sinclair’s $24 million ransomware loss

Sinclair Broadcast Group, that owns the second highest number of TV stations in the US, announced an unrecoverable loss of $24 million for the October 2021 ransomware attack. The disclosure was part of the company’s fourth quarter financial results reporting.

The company did state no ransom payment was made. The loss included costs of incident management, impact on advertising revenue and was less the likely insurance reimbursement. Investigation and recovery of the incident is still in progress so the total loss may eventually be higher.

Other attacks

Other major cyberattacks that occurred, were discovered or saw significant development announced in February involved the UK’s foreign ministry, giant chipmaker NVidia, dozens of petroleum product storage terminals in Europe, UK-based snacks manufacturer KP Snacks, the world’s largest NFT marketplace OpenSea, global insurer Aon, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, media conglomerate News Corp and Vodafone Portugal.


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