High-profile attacks highlight the need for advanced protection for all.


It’s been a bad month for big ransomware attacks globally, and now another huge one has crippled a manufacturer in one of the world’s most critical industries.

As reported by ZDNet, ASCO, one of the world’s largest suppliers of airplane parts (with clients including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Lockheed Martin), has ceased production in four countries due to a ransomware infection reported at its plant in Zaventem, Belgium.

As a result of having their IT systems crippled by the ransomware infection, the company has sent home approximately 1,000 of its 1,400 workers.

Per reports, the infection took root on Friday, June 7, and initially hit the company's Zaventem plant in Belgium, but ASCO also shut down factories in Germany, Canada, and the US. It is unclear if the company shut down operations at other factories because the ransomware managed to spread, or just as a precaution.

This ransomware attack comes after the big one that has heavily disrupted operations and services in the city of Baltimore for weeks this spring as well as very recently at a small Florida city.

Ongoing Ransomware Attacks Highlight Need for Protection

Given the ongoing success of ransomware as a direct technique to extract money from targets, the category is drawing increased investment from cybercrime groups.

What’s interesting here is the industry, region and company targeted. It immediately brought to mind the January 2016 attack when FACC, an Austrian-based company that is a supplier to Boeing and Airbus, lost $54M due to a business email compromise. Not only did they lose millions, two years later the company sued its former CEO and Finance Chief for $11 million for failing to take the proper precautions to protect them from this type of attack.

Ransomware can hit organizations indiscriminately or in very targeted ways, and given the ongoing success of these attacks, the method is drawing increased investment by cybercrime groups.

While there are no easy or quick fixes to the ransomware problem, there are strategies that can dramatically reduce the risk and impact of getting hit by one.

The best defense against malware in general and ransomware in particular is a security strategy built around resilience, where security controls, business processes, and organizations’ people are pulled together to improve both the prevention, detection, and response to these attacks, to make them more like minor blips to the organization versus events that cause serious downtime and impact.

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