Dividends and US, British security agencies disclose details of “brute force” hacking methods they say are used by Russia

When you consider hacking measures designed by governments to examine what other governments are doing, that is one aspect of geo-political measures which all the world believes is semi okay. We hack you, you hack us; however the same tools used to hack governments can easily be translated in Ransom attacks on companies.

In an article by Nomaan Merchant, Eric Tucker, and Frank Bajak of the Associated Press, US and British agencies disclosed in early July how Russian intelligence tried to break into cloud agencies of hundreds of government agencies, energy companies and other organizations.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) described attacks by operatives linked to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency.

Brute attack means the automated spraying of sites with potential passwords until hackers gain access. The agency urges companies to adopt methods urged by experts as common sense cyber hygiene, including the use of multifactor authentication and mandating strong passwords.

The NSA says GRU-linked operatives have tried to break into networks using Kubernetes, an open source tool developed by Google to manage cloud services. The hackers also used Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud services.

Joe Slowik, a threat analyst with the network monitoring firm Gigamon, said brute force method and lateral movement inside networks described by the NSA are common among state-backed hackers and criminal ransomware gangs, allowing the GRU to blend in with other actors.

In the news conference, the NSA was joined by the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the British National Cyber Security Center.

John Hultquist, VP of analysis at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant characterized the activity described in the advisory as routine collection against policy makers, diplomats, the military and the defence industry.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, when governments play the spy game against each other, business tends not to mind because they have been doing that since the Cold War and before. However, the same skills can be used against business and they will be charged Ransomware, because the line is not very clear anymore. In the old days, bank robbers were asked why they robbed banks, they would answer that is where the money is. For a profitable company, the money is within the area of the internet and protection has to be a top priority. Ask what companies and if common sense cyber hygiene is a given or monitored in your investments.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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