• Subject Name : Information security

Ransomware Attack on Toll Group, Melbourne, Australia

The ransomware attack on the well-known Australian transportation and logistics company- the Toll Group shook the Australian market and inculcated cyber insecurity in the minds of industrialists and owners of big firms. The incident happened on February 3, 2020. At first, the company thought it is just a malware infection that came out to be a ransomware attack lately. The ‘mailto’ ransomware also termed as Netwalker, occupied the information system of the firm and encrypted the documents to some unknown “mailto” format. The hackers demanded a huge ransom in return for decrypting the files back to their original format but the company refused to pay for the ransom. While the company was still trying to restore its files manually and continuously trying to bring its functions back to normal, it experienced a second ransomware attack called “Nefilm” on May 5, 2020. The malicious software samples were shared by the company to various cybersecurity organizations including the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

While the “MailTo” attack could not do much harm to Toll Group as all its sensitive and personal information was all secured from the attack, the second attack within such a short period of 4 months, may have resulted in losing of more than 200 GB of information and leaking it to the Nefilm attackers. The reasons could be many:

  • The root cause of the first “MailTo” attack might not have been discovered yet by the Toll Group, gave an advantage to the “Nefilm” attackers to use the same weak point.
  • As the company was already struggling to come over the “MailTo” attack and bring its functions back to normal, the proper emphasis to information security was neglected in such a chaos.

With technology advancement, these kinds of cyber-attacks are becoming more popular these days. In greed of earning more money, hackers are nowadays using ransomware as their weapon for cyber-attacks. The main thing to be considered by every big and small firm is to manage the security of its information systems and digital data. The consequences of weak information security can be devastating for the organization as well as associated with people and society. Any security incident that takes place in an organization, leaves long-lasting consequences on various groups of people including the employees of the organization, the associated customers, stakeholders as well as the organization itself (Richardson and North 2017). One of the major impacts is the financial losses that the victim company experiences. In any type of security incident, whether it is a data breach or ransomware attack, financial losses are obvious.

The ransom paid, in case of ransomware attacks, the costs involved in data recovery and restoration, the costs for incident investigation, revenue losses etc. all fall under this category. Another consequence is the productivity loss. A security incident results in halting of all the organizational production processes, till the investigators don’t find out the source and root cause of the attack. A major impact is on the society and people associated with the organization. It is the responsibility of the organization to make their customers feel safe and maintain their trust. They should take responsibility for the privacy of customers and keep all customer data confidential and secure. In case an attack happens, and customer data gets stolen, customers’ privacy is compromised. They lose their trust in the organization (Bada and Nurse 2020).

In case an attack happens, proper measures should be taken immediately as soon as it is detected, to reduce the potential damages that the attack can cause. The quickly the security incident is detected, easier will be to recover from the losses. If my company gets into a security breach, the first step I will take is to run the malware checker and detect the hidden viral software location and quarantine it (Seissa et al. 2017). A systematic procedure will be followed and I will consult with a cybersecurity expert immediately. There are several cyber-securities helps available, even the government has its IT Cell so report that you have been attacked and IT professionals and cyber-security experts will be there to help you. They will guide through the recovery process, identify the source of the breach and how to get over through the damage, to notifying the appropriate people and returning to business as usual. 

We all know that “Prevention is better than cure”. So, it’s better to prevent any security incident from happening than taking steps later. Some of the prevention strategies that could be followed are:

  • Using proper Threat Detection Systems and firewalls to detect threats at an early stage.
  • Using Anti Malware / Ransomware Software in systems.
  • Continuous Backing up of systems is very important both offline and online. This protects the sensitive data and second, it helps in the repair and restores the files in case any attack occurs. The cloud backup process is very useful in protecting data. It provides extra security to data from various cyber infections. Use multiple sites to back-up your data.
  • The server can be set up to reject the spam emails and malware containing emails through Email filtering.
  • Using Strong Passwords.
  • Regular updating ofOperating System and application of OS patches.
  • Keeping the organizational network Private to restrict unauthorized access (Sinha et al. 2019).

References for Identified Information Security Incident

Bada, M. and Nurse, J. R. 2020. The social and psychological impact of cyberattacks. In Emerging Cyber Threats and Cognitive Vulnerabilities (pp. 73-92). Academic Press.

Richardson, R. and North, M. M. 2017. Ransomware: Evolution, mitigation and prevention. International Management Review13(1), p.10.

Seissa, I. G., Ibrahim, J. and Yahaya, N. 2017. Cyber-terrorism Definition Patterns and Mitigation Strategies: A Literature Review. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)6(1), pp.180-186.

Sinha, P., Kumar Rai, A. and Bhushan, B. 2019, July. Information Security threats and attacks with conceivable counteraction. In 2019 2nd International Conference on Intelligent Computing, Instrumentation and Control Technologies (ICICICT) (Vol. 1, pp. 1208-1213). IEEE.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Computer Science Assignment Help

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