We started Module 7 of C1b3rWall Academy 2021/2022 “Incident management. Good practices during a cybercrisis: a study of Ransomware” with a lecture given by Alberto Sánchez del Monte, head of operations at the Cybersecurity Coordination Office. The objective of the lecture was to analyze the impact of cyber-attacks on essential services and critical infrastructures, and specifically those of the ransomware type based on the encryption of information.
The Cybersecurity Coordination Office (OCC) is a body within the General Directorate for Coordination and Studies of the Secretary of State for Security. It is made up of members of the National Police and the Civil Guard. Its headquarters are at the Cybersecurity Technology Center (El Pardo).
Ransomware and frameworks
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files unless a ransom is paid for them.
There are several frameworks that explain each of the phases of a cyberattack. Some of the most famous frameworks are the CyberkillChain, which consists of seven phases, and the Diamond model, in which four different variables are considered. However, the one most commonly used in the OCC is the MITRE ATT&ACK model.
By analyzing the trail left in a cyberattack, it is possible to attribute authorship to a certain group on the basis of their modus operandi.
A service that is provided through information networks and is essential for the functioning of basic social needs. That is, hydroelectric power plants, water purification plants, hospitals, and others.
In Europe we are increasingly aware of this type of attacks and in 2016 we welcomed the NIS directive that entails an obligation of transposition to the national legislation of each member country and includes three main points:
- Identification of operators of essential services in each country (OSE).
- Supervision of obligations (security scheme).
- Incident reporting.
In Spain we use the national notification guide. This is a very technical document with a homogeneous European taxonomy. It analyzes the level of impact and the level of danger and it is mandatory to make an initial, intermediate and final notification, and to do so when certain thresholds are exceeded.
The most targeted sector has been the financial sector as it handles huge sums of money and are very tempting for cyber criminals. In 2020, attacks on the healthcare sector increased dramatically.
Areas of origin and destination of attacks
It can be seen that a large number of attacks originate from China and focus on financial services. As for Russia, a large number of IPs originate from there, also targeting the financial sector. Iran carries out much more punctual and diversified attacks.
The ransomware as a service model tends to predominate, and depending on the organization, they may have different names, but are in the same groups.
These groups usually send messages that warn the victims they will be under serious threat if they report the crime to the authorities. They usually operate as a cartel and the top of the pyramid usually keeps 30-35% of the profits. They are usually located in Russia or China and are IT professionals who switch to a form of crime that they find easy.
Everything that Alberto said was very interesting, but this is just an introduction to all the information he provided in his lecture. I share the link with you so you can watch it.