This week the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a joint Cybersecurity Advisory warning of an increase in ransomware risks over the Labor Day holiday weekend – when offices are normally closed. The FBI and CISA have not currently identified any specific threat indicating cyberattacks will occur over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. But in 2021, ransomware and other cybersecurity attacks have occurred over other holiday weekends.
For example, over Mother’s Day weekend a ransomware attack on the largest U.S. pipeline company led to the temporary shutdown of the company. That company supplied half of the fuel used on the East Coast. Over Memorial Day weekend, a ransomware attack of a meat processing company shut down production in plants in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a ransomware attack of a tech-management software company impacted 1,500 companies using the software.
The warning comes at a time of record cybersecurity complaints received by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). In 2020, reported losses from cybersecurity complaints exceeded $4.1 billion – a 69% increase from 2019. From January to July 31, 2021, the IC3 has received 2,084 ransomware complaints (a subset of the total cybersecurity complaints) with over $16.8 million in losses.
The FBI and CISA urged all businesses to “examine their current cybersecurity posture and implement the recommended best practices and mitigations to manage the risk posed by all cyber threats, including ransomware.” They outlined actions companies can take now to protect against ransomware, including making an offline backup of data, updating operating systems and software, monitoring remote desktop logs, using multi-factor authentication, and training employees on not clicking on suspicious links and using strong passwords.
We previously blogged about the White House guidance on ransomware, which includes testing your company’s data security response plan. Alert your data security response team to be hyper-prepared over this Labor Day holiday weekend. And make sure your team’s cell phone numbers are readily available.