Practical and timely information for staying safe in the Digital Age.
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The Cyber Advisor

What you need to know, when you need to know it.

Hi there,

For a sense of the biggest thing in cyber security today, try Googling "ransomware 2016". Now, do the same with "locky". 

Organized criminal cartels are fast getting into the easy money made from ransomware. As a reader, this isn't news. But, after last week's activities, we have evidence the trend is clearly at hand and accelerating.

sevenFor example, in just the last 7 days a leading spam researcher discovered 4 million emails with the Locky ransomware virus - at one point infecting at a pace of 200,000 emails per hour. PER HOUR! 

Here is what's happening:

The Russians are Coming

"Ransomware Will Spike As More Cybercrime Groups Move In." from InformationWeek -
  • "The Dridex group, a Russian cybercrime gang that until now has been known mainly for operating one of the most successful banking Trojans ever, is believed to be behind a recently released ransomware tool dubbed Locky that has begun proliferating in a major way on computers worldwide."
  • "The Dridex gang is the 800-pound gorilla of Trojans. Apparently they have seen the profit potential (in ransomware) and leveraged their extensive criminal infrastructure to get their Locky strain infecting as many machines as possible."
  • "Look for a sharp uptick in the quantity and quality of ransomware this year as more organized cybercrime groups employ ransomware, thanks to the huge success other criminals have had monetizing these attacks."


But So Are the Chinese

Exclusive: Chinese hackers behind U.S. ransomware attacks from Reuters -
  • "Hackers using tactics and tools previously associated with Chinese government-supported computer network intrusions have joined the booming cyber crime industry of ransomware."


Ransomware Facts

  • Four million spam emails containing the Russian Locky ransomware virus have been detected in the last seven days alone.
  • Last week as many as 200,000 were being detected by Trustwave’s Spam Research Database per hour. 
  • According to McAfee there were more than four million strains of Ransomware floating around on the Internet last year - more than 1.2 million of those samples were new.
  • $1.2b in the U.S. alone in ransom payments throughout 2015 and last year's activity was a fraction of the pace we are on for 2016.


Screen_Shot_2016-03-19_at_7.18.06_PM.pngI could easily list dozens more reports similar in message and tone from last week, including more accounts of ransomware on Macs - but by now, you get the point. 

Click for the video.

And for more - "Ransomware - The Four Things You Must Know." 

Writing this newsletter over the past four months has forced me to obsess over ransomware because of the immediate and escalating threat it poses to our customers and audience members. But, it's important to understand we face much more than ransomware in 2016 and beyond, and our future letters will include a broader set of topics.

Beyond Ransomware and Malware

As you know, I run a business that operates where the rubber hits the road in cyber security - at the inflection point of people, their technology, and the internet.

I also spend a formidable amount of time on the road speaking and consulting with firms and organizations that are working hard to manage and mitigate their own "New Face of Risk." For example, last week I had the opportunity to meet with senior IT security professionals from one of the world's largest, multi-national banks, as well as many clients from their Private Bank. We met individually, and in groups over a three city span.

This deep and regular immersion in the topic from both the inside and the outside provides me with a unique perch from which to analyze, report, and advise in a meaningful and real-world kind of way.

green_checkmark_rx.jpegWith the benefit of this introspect, I believe more than ever the requisites of a framework for any level of privacy, security, personal safety and digital autonomy for a successful future in the Digital Age include:

  1. Device security - realtime anti-virus, malware, etc.

  2. Encryption of online activities - especially public WiFis.

  3. Email privatization - personal email for Terms of Service that favor YOU.

  4. Document storage - secure, encrypted, easily managed.

Future letters will bring practical information, timely advice, and best-in-class recommendations to each of the points above, and what we call "The Four Fundamentals of Cyber Security."

Thanks for reading,




HighTechnologyCentreRuoholahtiHelsinki25009.jpgRansomware destroys all of your information and typically renders your computer or Android useless.

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