The 5 biggest Cyber Security stories of 2019

2019, like every other year in recent times, has been rammed full of cyber security attacks. For most people, these are scary times. However, if there is a silver-lining to this cloud, then it’s for cyber security professionals. The one positive from all of these attacks is that cyber security specialists are needed.

Here’s a quick recap of the 5 biggest cyber security stories of 2019:

1. US Customs & Border Protection hacked

It’s perhaps a bit ironic that US Customs & Border Protection, the agency responsible for maintaining border security, could not adequately secure its online data. In May earlier this year, the agency learned that photos and license plate information for up to 100,000 people had been hacked.

It is reported that the attack may have been via a subcontrator. This falls in line with a string of other recent attacks, which gain access to their main target via the supply line.

Customs & border protection hacked

2. Even giants can be taken down: Amazon DDOS attack of October 22, 2019

On October 22, 2019, Amazon underwent an 8 hour DDOS attack. An old, simple, yet still very effective strategy, DDOS attacks work by flooding a site with traffic.

Want to understand the basics of DDOS attacks? This video explains:

Amazon, in an email to users, confirmed that the cause of the outages was indeed a DDOS attack. However, beyond this, the company refused to publicly say more.

Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that an internet giant, which is trusted with so many people’s information, can still succumb to cyber attacks.

3. VPN: Is it really private?

A study by VPNPro in June this year revealed that most VPN providers (101 of them) are owned by just 23 firms. Even more interestingly, 6 of these (including the major mobile VPN companies) are owned by Chinese companies. There have long been suspicions about such companies allowing the Chinese government access to their data.

So it seems, ironically, that a service with the word “Private” in it, might not keep your data that private after all.

4. Iran identified as source of DNS hijacking

Way back in January, Iranian IP addresses were identified as the source of DNS hijacking. Reportedly, the attack affected Internet Service Providers, government, as well as other companies across the world. The attack allowed for sensitive data to be collected, which apparently is of no financial value, but may have value to the Iranian government.

Iran flag

5. Ransomware still effective

The example of Riviera Beach, in Florida, is proof that ransomware (and it’s creators) are alive and well. Earlier this year, city officials from Riviera Beach extraordinarily voted in favor of paying the ransom to have get back usage of their computer systems. And the fee? A whopping $592,000 USD.

Source: The New York Times.

Ransomware. Your money or your...IT systems


One thing is clear from 2019: The need for information security professionals is only going to increase.

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