loanDepot Says Ransomware Gang Stole Data of 16.6 Million People

Mortgage lender loanDepot has confirmed that approximately 16.6 million individuals had their personal information stolen in a ransomware attack disclosed earlier this month. The attack, which occurred on January 6, led to the shutdown of some systems, affecting recurring automatic payments and causing delays in payment history updates. The company, acknowledging the breach as a ransomware incident, mentioned that files on compromised devices were encrypted by malicious actors.

Security Officer Comments:
LoanDepot is in the process of notifying affected individuals and offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services. The incident underscores the growing trend of ransomware gangs exploiting stolen corporate and customer data for double-extortion attacks. The lender, having experienced a data breach in May 2023, holds sensitive financial information, making affected individuals potential targets for phishing and identity theft attempts.

Suggested Corrections:
Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.

Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk- based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

Test your incident response plan: There's nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?

Check Your Security Team's Work: Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.

Segment your networks: There's been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It's critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised.

Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident. Train employees: Email remains the most vulnerable attack vector for organizations. Users should be trained how to avoid and spot phishing emails. Multi Factor authentication can help prevent malicious access to sensitive services.