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Nobody is safe: famous ransomware attacks in 2020

Data security has never been more important. As the 2020 health crisis has severely affected our economy, many businesses have been forced to adapt and face new challenges. This includes financial and operational challenges, but also the challenge of facing a growing number of IT threats, like ransomware.

Ransomware is not something new, hackers have been demanding ransoms for years. But recently it has been making such an impact, that it has reached the mainstream media. Among the chaos caused during 2020 by business restrictions, travel restrictions, and the challenges of embracing smart work, ransomware has kept its reputation as a very real threat. Many high-profile organisations have been victims or targets of ransomware attacks.

Here are a few of the most „famous” instances when ransomware has disrupted the well-being of renown companies:

Ransomware leaves Garmin un-fit for 5 days

Fitness technology company Garmin was a victim of a cyber attack in July 2020. This attack disrupted the company’s online services, affecting millions of users. The company’s wearables, apps, website, and customer support functions have been offline for about five days. Even after the service was back, the company’s products still had syncing issues and delays. While at first Garmin did not want to admit being a ransomware victim, they have later confirmed it in an official statement

The hackers behind the attack allegedly demanded $10 million to unlock the data encryption. The company has not given any information about how they have overcome this security crisis. 

Ransomware disrupts border crossings in Argentina

In August, Argentina’s official immigration agency has suffered a ransomware attack that temporarily halted all border crossings.

The government first realised that their IT systems had been compromised after receiving numerous tech support calls from various checkpoints. They soon acknowledged that it was not a normal situation; after an evaluation of the infrastructure, the computer networks used by the immigration offices and control posts were shut down. This led to a temporary suspension of border crossings for approximately four hours.

MAPFRE – No insurance for ransomware

Around the same time, famous Spanish insurance company MAPFRE, also admitted to being a victim of ransomware. Following customer complaints on social networks, the insurer declared that it was providing its services normally, except for certain operations – for which they had to use „alternative procedures”, as established in the company’s Business Continuity Plan.

The company officially apologised to its customers, even though the company’s activity didn’t stop altogether. According to the insurer, no customer data had been compromised.

Ransomware blinds eyewear giant Luxottica

In September, the world’s largest eyewear manufacturer, Luxottica, also confirmed that it had suffered from a ransomware attack. The attack was aimed at the company’s Italian offices and led to business operations being halted in both Italy and China.

The issues were first noticed when users reported that several websites belonging to Ray-Ban, Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, EyeMed and Pearle Vision were not working. The company has commented that no customer data had been affected by the incident, but that its IT systems had suffered due to the attack.

Geox – These shoes were made for walking free

Italian footwear manufacturer Geox is another recent ransomware victim. In this case, the attackers hit the company’s e-mail server, blocking all internal communications. This has subsequently lead to the entire production being halted. It has further impacted logistics and e-commerce activities. It appears that the business stopped being operative altogether, even sending its employees home until the problem was remediated.

These are of course just a few examples of ransomware attacks that have scared us during 2020. The list could go on, but it’s not only „famous” organisations that get targeted by ransomware. We are all potential victims – small and big companies alike.

A vaccine for ransomware?

The threat of ransomware is not going anywhere and small and medium businesses need to be able to ensure the protection and easy recovery of their data. While taking preventive measures is highly advisable, with ransomware evolving constantly, there is no guarantee that such measures are enough.

Syneto products have been designed with data protection and fast Disaster Recovery in mind. How does that apply in this situation? On a Syneto infrastructure, all the data can be recovered from a point-in-time since before the attack took place. That means that both downtime and data loss are kept at a bare minimum.

Would you like to find out more about how Syneto can help you worry less about ransomware attacks? You can schedule a free demo and talk to one of our professionsals!