Street Newspaper Appears to Have Big Issue with Qilin Ransomware Gang

The parent company of The Big Issue, a renowned street newspaper supporting homeless people, is facing a cybersecurity crisis initiated by the Qilin ransomware gang. The gang has claimed to have stolen 550 GB of sensitive company data, including personal information like driving licenses, salary details of executives, and even passport and bank details of key figures within the organization. The leak also exposes subscriber data, financial records, and employee information, posing significant risks to individuals' privacy and organizational integrity. This attack not only jeopardizes The Big Issue's operations but also undermines its mission of aiding marginalized communities.

Analyst Comments:
"The days of cybercriminals having something of a moral compass are over. Targeting organizations like The Big Issue, which serves vulnerable communities, showcases the ruthless nature of modern cyber threats. This incident highlights the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures across all sectors, as even socially impactful enterprises are not immune to cyberattacks.”

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.