As the culmination of Moore’s Law nears, the ripple effect is not confined to the legitimate software industry, as the most innovative facets of the hacking chaos continuum are furtively bundling and outsourcing liteware to expand their footprint and avert the obsolete pratfalls beyond the confines of AI. While the lucrative and prestigious targets of Amazon and F***book remain unfeasible conquests populating Orphean dreams sequences, the concept of sustainability has even infiltrated the shadowy causeways of the dark web, as manageable and efficient campaigns concentrate on and threaten small business or software as a service (SaaS) communities. Without a prevalence of cutting-edge and efficacious security protocols, the lesser the risk equates to minimal consequences.
Nearly four and a half years past the defining Presidential election of 2016, the virally-shared misnomer that Russian cyber criminal syndicates are running amok domestically, has finally come reached a disheartening fruition. If mainstream media sources are to be trusted, than a 4th of July attack on over 1,500 businesses and a million personal devices, is the work of dissidents aligned with Putin on some level. The crooks are demanding $70 million in ransom to halt the unprecedented hostage electronic sweepstakes of a smattering of larger-sized corporations, including key IT service players such as Kaseya, which led to the infection reaching corporations, mom and pop shops and consumers.
What makes the latest pirating efforts so disconcerting is that the brains behind the widespread malaise concentrated on specific firms serving the IT needs of low margin targets lacking formidable security, and plausibly paid individuals with clean records to do some of the dirty work. Ominous intentions aside, the newest iteration of cyber criminals are following a decade old business model of the legitimate tech industry in launching a sordid Ransomware as a service (RaaS) strategy which keeps the most devious of hackers under the radar screen by distributing military-grade sophisticated malware and virus-laden software to humans who do not light up the FBI or Interpol databases like a Christmas tree. What makes this who foisted symbiotic relationship amazing, is that the first wave of disposable perpetrators actually believe that they will receive compensation for propagating a series of localized infections, a scenario ripe for the infiltration of municipal and university infrastructure.
The pay for play average Joe driven tactic of proactive offensive style of aggression has never been seen on such a widespread scale, as demands have been made by the alleged offending alliance of the REvil digital gang in offering an all-in encrypted key that will apparently end the madness for the stunning lucrative sum. A diverse array of industries were compromised by the ransomware, including the aforementioned Kaseya, a significant Swedish grocery store chain, a pair of Dutch IT firms, and number of small businesses connected via shared networks, including dental and medical clinics and libraries.
While the $70 million may simply be a magic number to elicit PR and stoke the ego of the masterminds involved, the template of the massive siege bears repeating, as professions using subscription software suits on the cloud may be vulnerable to future crippling attacks. The majority of the accounting discipline, for example, could be derailed if a service such as Intuit’s Quickbooks was hijacked, leading to a series of headaches and delays in the business world, as companies would be on the hook with the IRS in reporting quarterly finances. As well as the short-term consequences, sensitive data could be traded on the dark web marketplace as a result, in less sophisticated villains trading corporate credit cards and personal information for a quick infusion of cash or cryptocurrency.
Another susceptible customer base to (RaaS) coordinated attacks is those interfaced with smart home technology. As many experts have warned that the prevalence of overengineering could lead to monetary loss and overriding chaos, the fact is that integrated bundles systems are an easy target for digital marauders, and it is only a matter of if, not when full-scale assaults persist against the residential cliental. Imagine Alexa as a conduit for the smart system array of a household being coerced through diabolical coded instructions to simply unlock the front door or opening the garage with welcome arms for any hoodlum with an acumen for creating digital havoc. There is some validity to the belief that the wheel and hammer are two of the most important and eloquent inventions having withstood the test of time and feature rock solid firewall technology in existing solely as tools and not slaves.
Unsettlingly, the innovative characteristics of the nextgen ransomware deployed in the attacks is of “zero hour” complexity, a frighteningly chilling notion considering the Ray Bradbury sci-short story of the same name profiling the end of humanity, as children build a stargate allowing an overwhelming invasion by a militant alien species all the while parents are oblivious to the pending danger in what is fatefully believed to be an innocent neighborhood trending kids game. Experts claim that the nature of how the virus goes undetected within an operating system is not fully understood, or they are not willing to share the trade secrets that could begin a new era for the anti-virus business now that John McAfee is now in a better place.
As another crossroads is reached in the information age, not the first or not the last, it is up to consumes to decide just how much tolerance is allocated towards a turbulent ride of frustrating setbacks in embracing convenience above sensibility.
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