Nordic Companies Targeted in Attacks | Ukraine Government Hacked | Microsoft Exchange Servers Break

January 17th

Article by Christopher Lauder, Delegate Relationship Executive, Rela8 Group

Nordic Companies Targeted in Attacks

To begin, lets head north where Nordic companies have been scaling up their IT security defences following a series of malicious cyber-attacks that peaked in December 2021. These attacks targeted some of the region’s largest industrial and service industry groups.

Among the corporation’s targeted are Vestas Wind Systems, Amedia, Nortura, and Nordic Choice Hotels (NCH). NCH was targeted by an aggressive ransomware attack in December which disrupted their booking and payment platforms, and their networks across 200 hotels in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Lithuania. Vestas Wind Systems was also targeted by a ransomware attack in November which resulted in a breach of personal data. The hackers were able to capture data from internal file systems, and released personal information, including employment contracts, on the dark web.

The Norwegian National Security Authority was able to identify the computer virus used against several of these organisations and track it back to the so-called Conti ransomware group.

As Nordic organisations continue to recover from these attacks, Nordic governments have announced an increase in spending on their national security infrastructures to improve their cyber defences.

Source - Nordic Companies Targeted - ComputerWeekly

Source - Nordic Companies Targeted - LiveMint

Ukraine Government Hacked

Next, we move our focus to Ukraine where the Ukrainian government has accused Russia of being behind a huge cyber-attack which took place on Friday against roughly 70 Ukrainian government official websites.

Before the websites went offline, a messaged appeared which warned Ukrainian’s to “prepare for the worst”. Russia has not commented on the attacks, though both the United States and NATO have condemned the attack and offered support to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Information Ministry has pointed out that Russian media reported the attack before Ukrainian outlets and allege that the attacks are in response to what they have called “Russia’s failure” in the recent talks with NATO over Ukraine.

This comes during heightened tension in the region, with Russia building up roughly 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border and a fear of invasion being imminent.

It’s important to note that Ukrainian cyber police have begun an investigation into the attack and are yet to attribute blame, saying “It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine”. The EU’s foreign policy chief has also condemned the attack and said, “we can imagine who is behind it”.

Source - Ukraine Government Attack - BBC News

Source - Ukraine Government Attack - Fortune

Source - Ukraine Government Attack - Guardian

Source - Ukraine Government Attack - CNN

Source - Ukraine Government Attack - DW

Before the websites went offline, a messaged appeared which warned Ukrainian’s to “prepare for the worst”

Microsoft Exchange Servers Break

Finally, Microsoft has released an emergency patch for a flaw in Microsoft Exchange which prevented emails from sending at the start of the New Year. Dubbed the ‘Y2K22 Bug’, on-premises Exchange servers were failing to deliver mail as they couldn’t handle 2022 as a date format.

Businesses reported encountering issues where emails would be stuck in a queue instead of sending after the yearly date changed to 2022. The issue has been attributed to Exchange’s malware scanning engine which manages the dates in the form of 32-bit variables. Microsoft has said that the situation has been caused by the engine’s date-checking process, and assured users that this is not a cyber security issue.

Microsoft has published step-by-step advice on how to fix the issue which can be viewed in the source below.

Source - Microsoft Exchange Delivery Bug - ITPro

Source - Microsoft Exchange Fix

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