The U.S. government has officially indicted a group of Iranian hackers who are being accused of breaking into several major U.S. financial institutions, and even a dam located in Rye Brook, New York.
The hackers, who are supposedly connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, targeted as many as 46 different U.S. financial institutions and corporations between 2011 and 2013 including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and American Express. They are responsible for millions of dollars in damages.
It is widely suspected that the Iranian hackers were acting in retaliation for the cyber attack that the U.S. and Israel launched against Iran in 2010 to disable its nuclear program.
Since the hackers currently reside in Iran, it unlikely that they will be extradited to the U.S. Still, by indicting the group the U.S. is letting it be known that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
“This sends an important message to Iran and other governments that these people cannot operate anonymously,” explained Dimitri Alperovitch, CTO of CrowdStrike.
The harsh reality that we as business leaders must now face, however, is that this is no “feel good” story; it’s just an indictment. The responsible party—and countless others like them—are still active and could potentially strike again.
This is global cyber warfare we are dealing with, where no business—regardless of whether it operates in finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing or any other sector, is safe. And you, as a business owner in New York City, are in just as much danger of getting hacked as any other company.
To give you an example of the terrifying lengths to which today’s hackers are willing to go to infiltrate private property, consider the recent example of a global shipping company that was hacked. First, hackers broke into the company’s computer system and learned what valuable items were being shipped oversea, and when. Then, armed with this knowledge, the hackers actually attacked the vessel at sea, stole the items, and fled.
"It became apparent to the shipping company that the pirates had specific knowledge of the contents of each of the shipping crates being moved," explained Verizon’s RISK security response team following the event. "They’d board a vessel, locate by bar code specific sought-after crates containing valuables, steal the contents of that crate—and that crate only—and then depart the vessel without further incident."
As you can see with this case and the targeted attack against the New York dam, cyber warfare is serious business—and it does not always end with the theft of private information alone. Once hackers gain access into a private network, anything they can acquire is fair game.
Here’s some more bad news, too:
Your network may already be infected. Hackers may have already wormed their way inside and silently planted malware that is capable of stealing information or bringing down your network or infrastructure.
Not all types of malware can be identified by running a simple virus scan. You need the help of a professional computer consultant, like New York City’s own Apex Technology Services, who can conduct a thorough assessment of your network and equip you with the latest cybersecurity safeguards.
It’s time to give cybersecurity the respect that it deserves. Pick up the phone and contact Apex Technology Services today.