Email Security News Round-Up [February 2022]

One of the key issues the world has been facing since the beginning of the global pandemic is cybersecurity. Each month cybercriminals are looking for new ways, tactics, and methods to break into networks. 

This article represents some of the top email security news, cybersecurity news, and data breach incidents of February 2022.

We’ve divided this n news round-up into three main sections:

  • Email Security Latest News
  • Microsoft Latest Updates
  • War-Related Cybersecurity News

Another Month in Email Security

It’s not the first time we’ve talked about the dangers of giving up personal information to unknown sources and the role email can play in the process. February is no different to any other month in terms of attacks and email security breaches.

This month’s top news focused on PII in healthcare. However, as the political turmoil in the world continued, the new vector of attack included media professionals as well.

Let’s take a look.

1) 3 Email Security Incidents in Healthcare

The first dose of this month’s email security latest news refers to an Injured Workers Pharmacy in Massachusetts. They detected suspicious activity in an employee’s email account and reported the data breach to the Maine Attorney General around May 11, 2021.

The company hired third-party data review specialists to review the emails and attachments in the compromised accounts, which confirmed they contained 75,771 people’s protected health information, such as names, addresses, and social security numbers.

In another email security news story reported between February 24 and 26, 2022, PII, diagnoses, and health insurance information was viewed or acquired by unauthorized individuals. 

An employee of iRise Florida Spine and Joint Institute had their email account breached, which contained the health information of 61,595 patients.

The third healthcare-related email security breach news story is connected to a service organization based in C.A. An employee of Volunteers of America Southwest California, recently received a voice message. To listen to it, the individual had to go through a login process on a website. 

Turns out, this was a simple vishing attack and as a result, the login credentials were taken and used to access the employee’s email account. This breach affected 1,300 individuals and was reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

2) USA Journalists Hacked in China

Since 2020, there has been growing tension between China and the U.S. China forced out dozens of journalists from respected publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, etc. Sure, expelling is one way to assist state propaganda, but cyber hacking and online trolling also prove efficient sometimes.

On February 4th, the News Corp underwent a cyberattack that hacked journalists’ and other company members’ email accounts. The company announced that the breach had affected “a limited number” of email accounts and documents from News Corp headquarters like News U.K., Technology Services, The New York Post, and Dow Jones. Other News Corp properties have supposedly not been affected.

Microsoft Making Headlines in February

Email cybersecurity news in February mentioned Microsoft a few times. On the one hand, the company is deploying new security measures to eliminate vulnerabilities their service users are exposed to. However, hackers never sleep!

1) Office 365 Email Service Deploying MTA-STS

As MTA-STS is gaining traction in the email security world, Microsoft and other large companies are adopting the protocol. Microsoft announced that the Office 365 email service will use SMTP MTA Strict Transport Security (MTA-STS) from now on.

The new security layer improves the integrity of the messages and solves problems such as expired TLS certificates, unsupported secure protocols, and problems with third-party certificates.

At this point, Microsoft is rolling out the DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DNSSEC) for outbound emails (from Exchange Online to external endpoints). Inbound email MTA-STS support will begin at the end of 2022.

2) Microsoft Team Chats Under Attack

Hackers are spreading malware among Microsoft Teams platform users by placing malicious .exe files on Teams chats. They trick users to download files by using unsuspicious names.

In January, cybersecurity firm Avana spotted the attacks and issued a public warning. A couple of days later, the San Francisco 49ers got hit with a ransomware attack. Malicious actors stole and posted data from the NFL unit on the dark web. Microsoft is aware of the issues but has not commented yet.

Meanwhile War Rages in the Heart of Europe

As the bombs rage in Ukraine, the cyber-sky isn’t tranquil either. Hybrid warfare hits not only the sides of the conflict but also the rest of the world. Some U.S. companies have also seen a recent increase in cyberattacks.

1) ‘Anonymous’ Announces ‘Cyber War’ Against Russia

On February 25th, the ”Anonymous” cyber hacker group started a “cyberwar” against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration. The group declared their actions as being against the full-scale invasion of Kyiv.

The goal of hacking is to deactivate several Russian government websites. The gang has targeted RT.com, a Russian state-controlled international television network. It also targeted several other websites in a broad denial-of-service (DoS) attack. The hacker group’s cyberattack hit the Russian government websites, the Duma, the Kremlin, and the Ministry of Defense.

2) Ghostwriter Threat and Phishing Campaigns Against Ukrainian Organizations

On February 26th, The Computer Emergency Response Team for Ukraine announced Ghostwriter activities attacking organizations. These attacks also targeted Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and Russia.

Although the ghostwriter is believed to be of Belarusian origin and concentrates its attacks chiefly in Belarus, the European Council accused Russia of participating in these activities. The Ghostwriter boosts anti-NATO material through misinformation networks, website hijacking, and spoofing.

Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict started, the CERT-UA has been publishing frequent threat intelligence, as the Ukrainian military and public figures are also at the center of the Ghostwriter’s attention.

Conclusion

As you can see, February was yet another month with a lot of cybersecurity news. While the usual life of cyberattacks and their mitigation by businesses continued, the main armed conflict raging on Earth these days had a huge impact on cybersecurity news headlines.

As always, we’re keeping an eye on the email security news in the cyberattack space. Follow our blog for more daily updates or start your journey by clicking the banner below.

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