Ransomware Triggers Food Shortages, AWS Bomb Plot, and PlexTrac Secures Series A Funding

Your Weekly Cybersecurity News Recap … Byte Sized News

Is it a little self indulgent to put ourselves in Byte Sized News? Maybe, but we’re doing it anyway.

In addition to this exciting announcement, we’ve got huge stories relating to a ransomware-triggered food shortage, an AWS bomb plot, a cyber attack that closed casinos in Tasmania, and more.

If only there was an awesome blog post you could read every week that walks through five of the biggest stories in the industry in a condensed format … Oh wait, there is, and you’ve found it.

Let’s get to the news. 

Better reports. Deeper assessments. More insights. Do more with PlexTrac. Learn more here.

PlexTrac Raises $10M Series A Round for its Collaboration-centric Security Platform

According to TechCrunch and, well… us — PlexTrac, a Boise-based security service that aims to provide a unified workflow automation platform for red and blue teams announced that it has raised a $10 million Series A funding round earlier this week.

The funding round was led by Noro-Moseley Partners and Madrona Venture Group. StageDotO ventures also participated in the round. The funding will help PlexTrac build out its team and grow its platform. With this new round, the company, who was originally founded in 2018, has now raised a total of over $12 million, with StageDotO leading their initial seed round.

PlexTrac founder and CEO Dan DeCloss developed the platform to solve the pain points he experienced over his 15+ year career in the cybersecurity industry, including roles with the Department of Defense and in penetration testing. PlexTrac saw incredible customer and revenue growth in 2020. PlexTrac enables offensive and defensive security teams to collaborate in real time on cyber-attack simulations, known as purple teaming. 

The mission of the company is to keep every cybersecurity team focused on growing their assessment capabilities, automating their reporting process, and collaborating more effectively.

To read more about PlexTrac’s Series A funding and learn more about the companies involved from TechCrunch, click here.

Food Shortages at Dutch Supermarkets after Ransomware Outage

There were a large number of empty shelves at branches of the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain this week after a ransomware attack on a key logistics supplier, according to InfoSecurity Magazine.

With over 1000 locations around the country, Albert Heijn is a juggernaut in the food industry. However, this didn’t stop the supermarket firm experiencing major food shortages after the cyber attack on key supplier Bakker Logistiek, according to local reports.

Among the foods most affected by the attack were deliveries of packaged cheese. A note on Albert Heijn’s website warns of a “technical malfunction” affecting supplies. “The logistics service provider is working hard to solve the problem as quickly as possible and to quickly restore availability. We apologize for the inconvenience,” it notes.

The attack itself occured over the Easter weekend and forced Bakker Logistek to return to pen and paper methods as IT pulled the plug on its digital systems. This change meant that orders were not coming in or being fulfilled in warehouses, as the whole process is usually highly automated for maximum efficiency.

To read more about the ransomware attack that threw off the food giant’s logistical processes from InfoSecurity Magazine, click here.

Man Arrested for AWS Bomb Plot

According to Threatpost, a Texas man has been charged with plotting a bombing of Amazon Web Services in a quest to allegedly “kill off the internet.” The man caught in the FBI sting allegedly said he wanted to destroy “70 percent of the internet” by going after the tech giant’s data centers.

Seth Aaron Pendley was arrested in Fort Worth after attempting to get an explosive device from an undercover FBI employee in a sting. The feds were alerted to Pendley after a concerned citizen contacted them on January 8th about posts from Pendley on MyMilitia.com, a forum dedicated to organizing militia groups.

According to an announcement from the Department of Justice issued last Friday, “a user who went by the screenname ‘Dionysus’ stated he was planning to ‘conduct a little experiment,’ that he said would ‘draw a lot of heat’ and could be ‘dangerous.’ When another user asked what outcome Dionysus desired, he responded, ‘death.’”

The concerned citizen provided the FBI with that user’s email address, which law enforcement traced back to Pendley. Also — According to authorities — in late January, Pendley started sending messages to another confidential source using the Signal encrypted service. Allegedly, he told the source that he planned to use C-4 plastic explosives to attack AWS data centers in an attempt to “kill off about 70 percent of the internet.” 

Pendley also boasted on Facebook about taking part in the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

To learn more about the AWS bomb plot sting from Threatpost, click here.

U.S. Government Accuses Russian Companies of Recruiting Spies, Hacking for Moscow

Thursday the Biden Administration took a sideswipe at the network of companies the Russian government allegedly relies on to conduct intelligence and military hacking. The stance is part of a broader effort to beat back Russian government hacking and information operations targeting Americans, the U.S. private sector, and the federal government. Cyberscoop brings us more on this story.

One of the most striking actions that the Biden Administration took on Thursday included the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning Positive Technologies, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Moscow. According to the Treasury Department, Positive Technologies may be a regular IT firm, but it actually supports Russian government clients, including the Federal Security Service.

Also according to the department, the firm “hosts large-scale conventions that are used as recruiting events for the FSB and GRU.” This refers to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

U.S. intelligence also shows that the company has gone further than that, even supplying Russian intelligence with offensive hacking tools, knowledge and offensive operations, according to MIT Technology Review. 

Overall, sanctions from the Biden Administration cover six Russian tech sector entities. Other entities the administration also identifies as supporting the Russian government’s hacking goals include ERA Technopolis, which has supported the GRU’s cyber and information operations.

To read more about the Biden Administration’s recent sanctions from Cyberscoop, click here.

Cyber Attack Shutters Half of Tasmania’s Casinos

In our last story from the week, InfoSecurity Magazine details the closure of two of Tasmania’s four casinos following a cyber attack.

Threat actors struck the Australian island state’s sole casino operator Federal Group with ransomware on April 3. The attack affected hotel booking systems in the company’s Wrest Point and Country Club venues, sited in Sandy Bay and Launceston respectively.

The venue’s slot machines, known as “pokies” in Tasmania, were also impacted and have been out of service since the attack. Federal Group has launched a widespread internal investigation into the attack and recruited third-party cybersecurity experts to help determine the extent of the security incident.

“As a result of hard work by our team and external experts, including over the Easter long weekend, the immediate incident itself has been contained,” said Federal Group executive director Daniel Hanna.

However, Federal Group has not given any indication when customers can expect normal services to resume.

To read more about the ransomware attack that knocked out a pair of Tasmanian casinos from InfoSecurity Magazine, click here.

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