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Papua New Guinea Ransomware Attack: Hackers Lock Access to Million-Dollar Aid Money

Papua New Guinea was recently hit by a ransomware scheme wh2ere the hackers disabled access to foreign cash aid. There were reportedly millions of dollars that were locked in by the anonymous attackers, according to the sources.

Papua New Guinea Ransomware Attack

(Photo : Jefferson Santos from Unsplash)

The finance department of Papua New Guinea was hit by a ransomware attack. The report said that hackers froze millions of cash aid from foreign partners. Read more about this.

According to a report by Bloomberg on Thursday, Oct.28, the exploitation took place last week on the country’s Department of Finance’s Integrated Financial Management (IFMS).

The said sector is responsible for containing the national budget and handling all the accounting transactions of the government. With the recent attack that hit it, the foreign cash aid has been frozen for the meantime.

The employees from the said department told Bloomberg that they had discovered the system’s problem. At that time, they reported that it was down. The Department of Finance did not mention the potential cause of disruption, but it said that it was now starting to solve the issue.

According to the sources, the hackers wanted Bitcoin payment as ransom. There was no mention of the exact value of BTC that was requested by the attackers.

Furthermore, the people who knew the issue said that the network systems of the government had been exposed to security breaches.

For instance, Microsoft encouraged all users to install vulnerability patches to avoid security flaws. However, the servers of Papua New Guinea’s departments were still unprotected from malicious attacks, as per the Shodan search engine scan.

Papua New Guinea has been dependent on numerous partners who give them technological and economic assistance.

Despite becoming more inclined to technology, the financial capabilities of Papua New Guinea hamper it from developing an effective cybersecurity strategy, according to Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program director Jonathan Pryke.

“The PNG systems are so vulnerable already, and Australia is trying to come into this space and provide its own security and infrastructure. But the reality is I think the horse has bolted on this one,” Pryke said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Pryke added that the nation would start anew when it comes to cybersecurity investment. 

Read Also:  Avast Releases FREE Ransomware Decryptor for Multiple Strains-How to Get One

Ransomware Attacks Continue to Evolve

Threatpost reported that ransomware attacks are more than just accessing a system or user’s data. According to the cybersecurity tech site, companies affected by such tactics could suffer from a very long time of system disruption.

This activity would pave the way for the inability to do business functions. This even puts their customer relationship at high risk and inconvenience.

Since hacking incidents are gradually becoming harder to control, one good way to prevent a data breach is to initiate zero-trust security. For protection, this technique would secure digital assets, especially for big enterprises around the world.

Ransomware Attack is Comparable to Terrorism

Last June, Tech Times reported that the popular 9/11 bombing could be closely compared to the modern ransomware attacks. FBI Director Christopher Way said that the threat extent of these two events was similar in some way.

Wray said that their risks are slowly becoming difficult to avoid and counter. 

The following month, South African firm Transnet suffered from a widespread data breach on its IT systems. 

Related Article: [UPDATE] Ferrara Ransomware Attack: US Candy Maker Struggles in Production After Hackers Encrypt its Systems

This article is owned by Tech Times

Written by Joseph Henry 

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