Johann van Rooyen
Johann van Rooyen

Namibian organisations be aware of Lockbit threat

Johann van Rooyen
Green Enterprise Solutions (Green) is warning organisations to be vigilant with their Information Communications Technology (ICT) networks, as Lockbit’s successor, Lockbit 3.0, a ransomware programme that cripples networks, is targeting Namibian businesses.
Hackers, viruses, data breaches and weak cyber security makes IT networks, information and data vulnerable and accessible to criminal elements. Lockbit is a subclass of ransomware known as a 'crypto virus', which forms its ransom requests around financial payment in exchange for decryption.
In its new iteration, it has become even more sophisticated and damaging to businesses – and Namibia is under attack.
Access denied
Ransomware is malware designed to deny a user or organisation access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyber attackers place organisations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files.
Keeping computer networks safe from Lockbit 3.0 and avoiding shutdowns of essential and business-critical networks, is not straightforward.
There are constant cyberattacks from hackers on companies, ICT systems and even countries, with the present ransomware originating from Russia, being a prime example. Lockbit 3.0 has caused damage internationally and targets Windows PCs and now Linux servers too, via bugs in VMWare's ESXi virtual machines.
The system has hit companies and institutions across the world, including France's ministry of justice.
Now, Namibian organisations are being targeted, which is causing major network and work interruptions.
Growing stronger
The Lockbit ransomware operation has released 'Lockbit 3.0’, introducing the first ransomware bug bounty programme and leaking new extortion tactics and Zcash cryptocurrency payment options, making it even more advanced and placing a greater strain on computer networks.
The ransomware launched in 2019 and has since grown to be the most prolific ransomware operation, accounting for 40% of all known ransomware attacks in May 2022.
To counter attacks requires strong, unique passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for webmail, virtual private networks, and accounts for critical systems. In addition to various mitigations, keeping operating systems and software up to date and removing unnecessary access to administrative shares are important. This means that the people in charge of the networks, such as the ICT managers need to have the resources to upgrade, patch and defend their networks if they do not want to be held to ransom.
Green works together with these organisations to mitigate the risks of intrusion and attacks and is hard at work to counter Lockbit 3.0 for its clients.
Namibia has a good track record when it comes to protecting its networks, but the cyberattacks are non-stop and more sophisticated each time. Maintaining and having up to date and state-of-the-art security and actively combatting cyber threats is the only way to keep networks and organisations safe. Criminals are exceedingly creative and won’t cease to try and attack, exploit vulnerabilities and get at data and financial information.

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Allgemeine Zeitung 2023-06-09

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