Hydra Bust | Finnish Government Hit By Cyber Attacks | Thousands of Small Businesses Vulnerable To Attacks
Article by Christopher Lauder, Delegate Relationship Executive, Rela8 Group
German police have seized servers powering the infamous darknet marketplace Hydra and confiscated the equivalent of $25 million in bitcoin as part of a US-led crackdown on cybercrime and money laundering.
The Russian-language darknet forum offers a venue for the trade of illicit goods and services, including illegal drugs, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents (passports and driving licences), and money laundering and mixing services.
These latter so-called ‘cash-out’ services made the cybercrime marketplace a particularly useful resource for ransomware peddlers. Numerous vendors also sold hacking tools and malicious hacking services through Hydra. The online marketplace made money by charging a commission on sales.
Hydra accounted for an estimated 80% of all darknet market-related cryptocurrency transactions last year, according to a US Department of Justice (DoJ) statement on the enforcement action. Hydra’s revenue had risen dramatically from under $10 million in 2016, to over $1.3 billion in 2020, according to US Treasury estimates.
Chris Morgan, senior cyber threat intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows, said “While the takedown represents significant progress, it is realistically possible that the administrators and users of Hydra will establish a new or rebranded version of the Hydra marketplace, or simply move to an alternate service.”
“While there were no arrests made, the seizure of Hydra's infrastructure will undoubtedly generate new leads that lead to further operations targeting administrators and users of the service.”
Source - Hydra Marketplace - PortSwigger
Source - Hydra Marketplace - ZDNet
Source - Hydra Marketplace - Wired
Finnish Government Hit By Cyber Attacks
The websites of Finland's defence and foreign affairs ministries, as well as some other government services, were taken down on Friday. The defence ministry said its website was taken down by a denial of service (DoS) attack and that it was investigating the matter. The defence ministry's communications chief, Kristian Vakkuri, confirmed that a DoS attack was the cause of problems with its services.
"We are investigating the matter as best we can and will provide more information when we know more," but did not speculate on who could be behind the attack, though the DoS attacks occurred just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Finnish Parliament. Right before the cyberattacks, Finland announced a Russian aircraft had potentially violated the country’s airspace, Bloomberg reported. Investigations are ongoing.
Source - Finnish Gov Cyber Attack - Bloomberg
Source - Finnish Gov Cyber Attack - YLE
Source - Finnish Gov Cyber Attack - Euronews
Thousands of Small Businesses Vulnerable To Attacks
UK telecoms group BT has completed research which concludes thousands of small firms in the UK are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. BT surveyed 1,000 decision makers in UK businesses, which found that many thousands of small firms in the UK are vulnerable due to insufficient security measures.
It estimates 51% of the ‘micro business’ sector is using security software or protocols which won’t be tailored towards defending a business. As well as being equipped with defences that are not fit for purpose, part of the rising danger is the fact these small firms had to move so much more online over the pandemic which gives hackers more opportunities to breach into their systems. This comes as half of all UK small businesses suffered a cyber security breach or attack last year, according to the Government’s recent Cyber Security Breaches survey.
“There has been a huge shift over the past two years in the number of small firms moving their business online,” said a spokesperson for BT.
“And whilst consumer-grade products are great for protecting you while surfing the web, accessing emails and other personal use, they’re not designed for running a business which requires more robust protection and safeguards. It’s clear that the UK’s smallest firms need more support in this area.”
Source - BT Survey - Telecoms.com
Source - BT Survey - BT Newsroom
Source - BT Survey - Telecom Paper