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Top cybersecurity CTO issues scam warning about criminal ransomware tactics

Criminals are taking a personal approach, using the guise of executive children to reap huge rewards in ransomware attacks.

This latest tactic is the latest blackmail attempt, but this time they make you believe your child needs you.

At this week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer at Mandiant, a cybersecurity company owned by Google, explained how this happens.

“We’ve seen situations where threat actors essentially SIM-swap the phones of executives’ children and start calling them using their children’s phone numbers.”

“Think about the psychological dilemma this executive went through – looking for his children’s phone, picking up the phone and hearing it was someone else’s voice? Sometimes, it’s caller ID spoofing. Other times we see SIM swapping families members’ situation.”

As concerns about family members become more prominent, it makes the decision to pay the ransom demands more difficult.

Multiple ransomware attacks in US

This latest variant and ransomware technique is just one of many hitting the United States, with even critical services affected.

On February 22, IT provider Change Healthcare had to shut down some systems after suffering a cyber attack.This subsequently disrupted prescription orders and other pharmacy services across the United States

Another time, in November 2023, a cyberattack caused ambulances to be rerouted in East Texas, New Jersey, New Mexico and Oklahoma. This resulted in some emergency room patients having to be sent to other hospitals in the area until the system could be brought back online.

In January 2024, cancer patients fell victim to another ransomware attack when intruders broke into the IT network of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. This means medical records, Social Security numbers, diagnoses and lab results were all stolen.

Integris Health, another health network in Oklahoma, experienced the same scare when criminals were able to access personal data records.

Featured Image: Via Ideographies

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