30 – 1 – 19 – Cyber Alaska

Welcome to “CyberCure Bi-Weekly podcast.” transcript

In this article, we’ll focus on some cyber events that are happening in Alaska, a northern US state located, between Russia and Canada. 

Alaska exemplifies how wrong thinking can lead to poor results.

It is troubling to see a state that isn’t safe from cyber attacks, as it assumes it cannot stops all of them. It’s even more troubling when there are hundreds of thousands of citizens whose personal details could be at risk of leaking on the Internet without the ability to control it. Alaska is being hit repeatedly by different types of malware and in different sectors, however the common thing is that most of this attacks are not targeted attacks, and just point on the level of the cyber security.

The latest incident happened earlier this month. The Department of Health and Social Services (known as DHSS) announced that a cyber attack impacted more than 100,000 Alaskan households.

Shawnda O’Brien, the director of the Division of Public Assistance, stated: “unfortunately there are some viruses we just aren’t prepared for.”

While it might sound strange to hear them say that they can’t stop everything, this is a very common assumption, which is stated repeatedly.

Basically, the DHSS is saying that its own cyber tools and defenses are not good enough to prevent the attacks.

Let’s dig deeper, and see how long it has been since the last incident at the goverment as under these circumstances, people can assume they are not safe.

Not surprisingly, cyber incidents have been reported almost once or twice a month. thats a lot!

One of these cyber incidents happened less than 9 months ago. In this case, a workstation was infected with a well-known malware, and the details of about 500 alaskans have supposedly leaked.

The attacker was able to access names, social security numbers, birthdates , addresses, medical information, and other personal data, such as income reports.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There were more incidents, averaging at over two successful cyber attacks per month in governmental offices.

Ransomware also seems to be hitting other official places in Alaska. For example, municipalities like the City of Valdez & City of Valdez Polive were both got infected by malware/ransomware in mid 2018.

The ransomware attack successfully infected police computers containing 15 years of work files and sensitive data. The cyber insurance company paid off $26,000 to restore access. Thankfully, the attackers didn’t know who and what they were attacking in that situation.

Looking back on these attacks, the response of the officials seems to be the same reasons such as saying that the attack was too sophisticated, or that the attackers are too skilled, , or other excuses to justify the incidents.

An increasing number of speakers in Alaska are encouraging people and businesses to consider cyber insurance. 

It seems that Alaska is so far away, that people forgot that millions of cyber attacks are actually prevented and stopped everyday all around the world: it can be done!

If you are in Alaska, you should be very worried about who can, and will, access your personal data. If you live outside Alaska, you can smile: your government is probably doing a better job at protecting your data than the what the Alaskan government does for its people.

This is it for today’s podcast.

Stay safe! See you at the next podcast.

Don’t forget to visit www.cybercure.ai for the latest podcasts, and more about cyber intelligence.