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The Escalating Threat of Cyber Hacking

Posted by Charlie E. Bernier on Mar 13, 2024 11:26:38 AM

On March 6th, 2024, Instagram and Facebook users across the United States, India, Europe, Australia, and various other global regions found themselves locked out of their accounts for several hours, showing notifications of incorrect passwords, lack of service, or other general errors. Meta responded quickly to the incident, reporting a technical issue that was being looked at. While services were back up and running within a few hours, the error messages sparked global concern over potential cyber hacking on a large-scale level.

Similarly, in late February, Change Healthcare, a large unit of United Health Group, was attacked with ransomware, causing significant implications for healthcare organizations nationwide. This event, paired with the more recent Meta incident has caused grave concern over our current cyber security measures, and large hacking organizations' ability to infiltrate our systems.

Meta’s Service Shut Down Appears to Be a Cyber Attack

On the day of the service shutdown and the following days, Meta confirmed that the global network shutdown was merely a technical issue. However, experts are concerned that this may not be the case. Meta has experienced service issues in the past, and these events led to an inability to load content within the Facebook and Instagram apps. This most recent case gave a specific message that passwords were incorrect for users attempting to get into or load the app. This seems to be reflective of what's known as a denial of service (DOS attack), which is a form of cyber hacking.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) defines a DOS as, “when legitimate users are unable to access information systems, devices, or other network resources due to the actions of a malicious cyber threat actor. A denial-of-service condition is accomplished by flooding the targeted host or network with traffic until the target cannot respond or simply crashes, preventing access for legitimate users.”

While Meta is denying any form of cyber-attack, well-known hacking groups took to Twitter and online forums to take responsibility for the service shutdown as acts they had intentionally perpetrated. Cyber experts have commented that this style of hacking is typical for these cyber hacking groups, and given the denial of service, it would make sense for the shutdown to be more than a technical issue. There have been no formal statements from Meta claiming this to be anything but a technical issue, and further investigation into the event should reveal additional information.

Change Healthcare Ransomware Causes Serious Implications

The recent cyberattack on Change Healthcare, a key healthcare entity owned by UnitedHealth Group, has caused widespread disruption across the nation's healthcare system, affecting hospitals, pharmacies, and millions of patients. The event has been described as one of the most severe attacks on the U.S. healthcare system to date and has implicated patients' ability to file claims and submit/receive payments.

The outage has caused frustration for patients unable to access medications and has serious business and financial risks for those who utilize Change's platform. Change Healthcare processes billions of claims and manages trillions of dollars annually and is the largest electronic payment system in the US between healthcare providers and insurers. Since the ransomware attack, Change has urged the federal government to provide funding to protect patients while they sort through the aftermath of the attack, which shows the significance of one single ransomware attack.

What These Attacks Say About Our Current Cyber Security Measures

The recent cyberattacks on Change Healthcare and Meta's platforms highlight the vulnerabilities in our current cybersecurity measures and the escalating sophistication of cyber hackers. Despite efforts to increase security defenses, these attacks demonstrate that existing protection measures are potentially inadequate in deterring cyber hacks. Tactics are evolving faster than security measures, and the increasing expertise of hackers enables them to find weaknesses in digital infrastructures. These trends, especially their success within large and highly protected organizations, reflect a broader reality of cyber threats evolving faster than our ability to defend against them and highlight the critical need for continual innovation and investment in cybersecurity.

Cyber Insurance is More Important than Ever

In today's digital world, protecting your data, assets, and overall privacy is crucial to maintaining a strong business. One single data breach, or cyber-attack, can have long-lasting implications and financial instability. Recent cyber-attacks have highlighted that standard security measures are not always enough, and sometimes even with the best software, safeguards, and protective measures, hackers can still succeed. Cyber Insurance can protect your business in the event of a hack or breach, and ensure that no incident puts your business at a severe risk of financial or reputational ruin. ECBM Insurance provides comprehensive cyber insurance from top-rated carriers and can consult your businesses on your specific needs and provide coverage accordingly. For more information on our cyber insurance options or services, contact us today.