Mystery Blocks Out French Hack Attack

Although authorities have launched an official investigation, they have yet not been able to explain what had happened on Wednesday evening, April 8. One question remains unanswered: How did the cyber criminals manage to hack the French broadcaster, causing an internal IT system chaos with long-term consequences, blacking out 11 television stations, along with taking over social media and website.

The outcome of the cyber attack, that targeted TV5Monde, occurred in the late evening with hackers being in full control over the TV network for several hours. However that does not mean that the initial attack has itself happened at that particular time. Cyber crimes can be extremely complicated and long-term processes, involving sequences of separate carefully planned attacks.

Several crucial questions regarding businesses’ c have emerged following this high-profile attack: How safe are corporate internal IT systems? How do hackers manage to acquire control over corporate IT systems?

Cyber criminals target top industries with a new version of email deception called ‘spear phishing’. Professional and scientific related firms in the areas of Aerospace and Defence, Energy, Oil and Gas, Finance, Computing Systems, Media and Entertainment, Telecommunications and Pharmaceutical are amongst those that need to be on highest alert.

There is a significant risk presented to UK businesses by both ‘phishing’ and its new improved form ‘spear phishing’, warn authorities. The threat to UK businesses is rapidly growing as ‘spear phishing’ makes 91% of cyber attacks. Hackers use the new tactic which unlike traditional spamming emails is personally targeted and persistent.

Cyber criminals send a masked personalised email which looks like it is coming from a trusted source such as a colleague or a client. Gaining names and email addresses is an easy task as these details are published on firms’ and partners’ websites. What is left then is crafting a convincing malicious email containing a document attachment, targeted at the specific user.

The unsuspicious victim opens a link or an innocent looking PDF, Word or Excel attachment that infects the user’s computer and network with a dangerous malware. The technique appears to be highly effective in acquiring usernames, passwords and credit card details, masquerading as a trustworthy entity.

The result is an unauthorised access to the firm’s corporate IT systems. The longer it takes to identify and respond to such a breach, the longer the hackers have an access to the firm’s systems.

The British Intelligence Service MI-5 has informed 300 of the largest companies that information can be stolen from professional service providers and external vendors. Hackers exploit technical vulnerabilities and human weaknesses relying on widely available email addresses.

However there are safeguarding measures for prevention of such attacks. By using the right technology, monitoring practices and educating employees, firms can sufficiently improve their cyber security.

Hacking attacks are not simply an IT problem. Users have to recognise their individual responsibility and the damage they might cause by clicking on links in emails. IT departments alone, can not prevent cyber attacks. Educating users and advanced planning may prevent businesses of getting on the hook for ‘spear phishing’.

About Clear Law Solicitors:
Clear Law Solicitors specialises in many types of personal injuries, medical negligence, flight delays, housing disrepair and mis-sold paid protection insurance for mortgages. The law firm prides itself with its Plain English Accreditation and ‘no win, no fee bases’. Clear Law was established in 2005, and currently operates from its headquarters in Manchester with over 70 employees.


Company Name: Clear Law Solicitors
Name: Elena Georgieva
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: (+44) 0161 873 2791
Address: Manchester
Zipcode: M16 0GS

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