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Tycoon Ransomware Targeting Higher Ed Institutions

by Jackie Davis

Neutralizing cyber threats is a constant focus for government agencies and for good reason. According to the 2020 BlackBerry Cylance Threat Report, organizations handling technology-software were top ransomware targets and accounted for about 26 percent of attacks. As agencies continue to implement new technology to enable remote work and mission delivery, it is paramount agencies ensure networks are protected fromincreasing ransomware attacks.

As explained in a recent BlackBerry blog, Tycoon ransomware is a new breed of threat targeting Windows and Linux that agencies need to be aware of. This ransomware is difficult to detect and uses obscure Java images to stay hidden. Tycoon is targeting public sector organizations and has been a growing problem for educational institutions since its emergence in December of 2019. With colleges, universities, and agencies relying on remote work, organizations must bolster their defense to fend off threats like Tycoon.

“We’ve gone to a world of work from home. And through the last three or four months, we’ve had millions, literally millions of people working from home in all kinds of businesses and industries across the country, which has created, if you stop and think about it, a whole new what we call target space for adversaries. In other words, a whole bunch of new places to attack. Home routers, for example, have become a target of opportunity,” said Maine Sen. Angus King who is the Cyberspace Solarium Commission co-chair in a recent interview.

Since ransomware can have a long dwell time, it’s vital that organizations strengthen their cyber posture to defend against threats. Utilizing security solutions that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a Zero Trust architecture and steps in the right direction, according to the security experts at BlackBerry.    

“One of my favorite sayings is structure is policy. If you have a messy, uncoordinated, disorganized structure, you’re going to have messy, uncoordinated, disorganized policy. It’s just as simple as that,” said King. “So all of the pieces having the structure, having the planning, having the thinking of the unthinkable and then thinking about solutions and how are we going to solve this can make a huge difference, rather than just ad hoc-ing it trying to deal with a serious problem on the fly without those elements in place.”

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