Week Ending: 21st May - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Things seem to be getting back to normal, so if this week, like many of us, you’ve been enjoying seeing family and friends indoors then you may have missed the headlines in the I.T. and tech world.

Don’t worry, we’ll catch you up…

This week, the aftermath of the Irish health service cyberattack has dominated the tech headlines, we’ve also seen a rise in scammers spoofing meal delivery services and the launch of a new Government mobile emergency alert system.

Let’s get you up to date.

Aftermath of the Irish state cyberattack unfolds

This week, we’ve seen the aftermath of the Irish health service cyberattack unfold. The attack has dominated the headlines since news broke last week.

The attack has been described as “possibly the most significant cybercrime attack on the Irish state” and an attack that has hit “right at the core” of the health system.

Irish Government published a number of statements this week, stating that they are doing all they can to re-build systems and return services to normal, over a week after the attack was identified.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, has been leading the investigation into the attack. Earlier this week he stated that it has been “a painstaking process” and that the Government “deeply regrets the enormous personal impact it is having on many thousands of people around the country.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Michael McGrath also said he is not aware of any legal action arising from the potential publication of people’s personal medical information and that the Government has no intention of paying a ransom to the cyber criminals.

The BBC reported that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) had identified the gang behind the attacks which they believe to be the “Wizard Spider” group, from Eastern Europe.

According to the BBC, the NCSC first became aware that malware had been inserted into systems at the Irish Department of Health last Thursday. The Health Service Executive (HSE) was then alerted on Friday.

It’s unlikely that this is the last we’ve heard on this attack, or similar public sector attacks. Does more need to be done to ensure our health services are secure?

Read more on the latest news from the attacks here

Scammers target meal delivery services in latest malware attacks

If you’re a frequent customer of HelloFresh or Gousto then you need to read this. It has been revealed this week that scammers are spoofing popular meal delivery kit services to trick victims into giving away their personal details.

Victims are being targeted via SMS and being asked to input their personal details to release the malware. With demand for such services increasing during the pandemic, cybercriminals are once again taking advantage.

A report from email security software providers, Tessian, revealed that popular brand names including Gousto and HelloFresh were amongst those used by the scammers. The report stated that scammers are using a mix of phishing and smishing (SMS attacks) to target victims who are awaiting their delivery.

One phishing campaign highlighted in the report was released under the Gousto brand. The messages were sent out asking users to rate their delivery to enter a prize draw, however, the link within the message took users to a fake website designed to steal their personal and financial information.

So how you do you know which text messages to trust and not to trust?

Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian said:

“Spelling errors are a tell-tale sign that it is not from a legitimate source; brands will rarely make such mistakes in their marketing campaigns. Also, keep an eye out for business and customer messages from unknown numbers or numbers starting with a local area code such as +44, as these are regularly associated with scam texts.”

Read more about these spoof attacks here

UK Government builds mobile emergency alert system

It has been announced this week that the UK Government is set to build a mobile emergency alert system where members of the public will receive a text message in the event of an emergency.

A text will be sent to anyone in the areas where there is a risk to life such as a flood or terror attack.

Similar systems have been used successfully in USA, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand, but have never been used in the UK since initial trials in 2010. After the year we’ve had, such technology could be hugely beneficial.

In a statement issued this week the Government stated that,

“the use of cell broadcasting technology allows any authorised agency to send an alert to any device connected to a particular mobile site within ten seconds, ensuring the rapid dissemination of information to a specific location that could save lives.”

This technology also means no personal details, such as phone numbers, are shared and ensures there is no significant strain added to the phone networks.

A series of public trials will take place before launch, with residents in East Suffolk the first to receive a test message on 25th May. The Government has said there will be a public information campaign before any national launch to increase awareness.

Read more on this new technology here

Those were just some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: