Washington has blamed the Russian-based dark side hackers for the online attack that shut down the largest oil pipeline in the eastern United States in May.

The United States has announced a $10M reward for information leading to the capture of members of the high-profile ransomware gang, the Dark Side, as part of the authorities’ latest efforts to tackle the growing cyber extortion scandal. Is.

Ransomware is software used by dark side hackers to steal important information and data from various organizations and companies.

Washington has blamed a Russian-based group for the online attack, which shut down the largest oil pipeline in the eastern United States in May.

In cyber-extortion, a company or organization’s network is broken into to encrypt its data, then a ransom is demanded, usually to obtain the key needed to unlock it. The ransom is paid in currency.

“In offering this award, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting victims of ransomware from the exploitation of cybercriminals around the world,” the State Department said in a statement.

Washington has also offered a reward of up to 5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone in any country who attempted to join the Dark Side.

Although the prize money may be attractive, not all cybersecurity experts believe that the prize money will be effective in exposing hackers.

John Bambenek, of NETENRICH, an IT and security operations company, said: If the pass is thrown away, I doubt it will have much effect.

Cybercrime is on the rise around the world. New figures released in October show that 590 million in dark side hackers payments were reported to US authorities in the first half of 2021 alone.

Companies and organizations are under intense pressure to make payments to unlock their data.

Governments and individuals around the world are facing difficulties and worries due to cyber-attacks and it is being proposed to create international laws and forces in this regard.

Cyber Attacks in Banks of Pakistan

Websites of financial and administrative institutions were also attacked in Pakistan in recent days.

Last week’s cyberattack on the official website of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) halted the bank’s operations for several hours due to a cyberattack, which not only caused problems to consumers but also increased the risk of loss or theft of important information.

Dark Side hackers

The National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) in Pakistan issued an advisory in September this year, stating that the international fundamentals of cyber security in creating and maintaining the websites of government agencies. Principles and standards are not being taken care of.

According to the advisory, the risks of cyber-attacks on the official websites of most ministries, government departments and other agencies cannot be ruled out as cyber security is not strict.

The NTISB’s advisory also included a list of 75 departments and agencies whose official websites could be the target of cyberattacks.

These include China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (C-Pac), Pakistan Military Accounts Department, Military Lands and Cantonments, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission, Rescue 1122, Presidency, Federal Ministry. There are several important and sensitive departments like Defense Production, Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan Railways, Ministry of Anti-Narcotics and Privatization Commission.

How to stay safe from dark side hackers?

In modern times, we have become dependent on the Internet to meet many of the needs of everyday life. Whether it’s contact with loved ones or TV, public information, education, business or banking and employment, much depends on the Internet.

From automated vehicles to online home security systems, we rely on technology or cyber systems in every case. In such cases, criminal elements use the internet as their weapon and come up with new ways and formulas daily.

Whether it’s stealing people’s money, hoarding honours or something like that. This is called cybercrime.

Cybercrime or digital security is certainly a broad topic, but to put it simply, cyber security refers to the security of the mobile phone, laptop, bank account details, computer data, social media accounts and email passwords. There are several ways in which you can secure your presence on the Internet.

Cyber Security

Occasionally a photo or video of a celebrity is leaked, an account is hacked or an online fraud from a bank causes huge losses.

When it comes to cybercrime, ideas like account hacking, personal information leaks, theft of valuable company data and spyware come to mind because we face all these dangers whenever we go online.

There are many cyber attacks every day and anyone can be a victim of cyber theft, hacking or crime. Websites of well-known global brands are hacked and consumer information stored in their databases, usually related to credit cards, is stolen.

In addition, small businesses and modern startups in all industries are often targeted because most of them do not have adequate digital security systems.

Suggestions to Protect from Cyber Attacks

The following recommendations may help the average user to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.

  • Avoid free Wi-Fi in public places as much as possible.
  • Always keep your mobile phones, laptops and tablets password protected.
  • Create a password for all your social media accounts and online banking with a combination of spellings, numbers and symbols. Such passwords are considered strong and are usually difficult to hack.
  • Having the same password for all your accounts is not a good idea. Hacking an account makes it much easier for a hacker to access other accounts. So try using a different password for each account.
  • Do not send your password via email, chat or text message. Do not share your password with anyone.
  • Set up two-step verification on your online accounts whenever possible. Doing so adds another step to verify your identity, making it harder for an attacker to access your data.

Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WhatsApp and many other applications have introduced two-step authentication for their users, two-factor authentication, which can be easily activated by going to the application settings.

  • If you see a suspicious email, message or webpage asking for your personal or financial information, do not respond but delete it immediately.
  • Avoid clicking on links in suspicious emails or posts as much as possible. Such links paralyze your account or device, giving hackers control.
  • Check your privacy settings regularly and customize to what extent you want to share your information and published content with others.
  • Be careful about your social media presence. Think twice before publishing any kind of sensitive or harmful content from your account.
  • When installing any software or application, make sure you are getting it from a trusted source.
  • You can also make sure that the application is verified by Google Play. Avoid installing unverified applications.
  • Regularly update the applications installed on your mobile phone, laptop and tablet. App creators are constantly working to improve apps, with the goal of introducing the latest features and improving security. Newer versions of the application are relatively safer than older versions.

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