This week, Yaroslav Vasinskyi made his initial appearance in court for conducting ransomware attacks against multiple victims, including the July 2021 Kaseya attack. Vasinskyi worked for the REvil ransomware group, where he would gain entry into internal networks of victim companies and deploy malware to encrypt and steal data. The 22-year-old Ukrainian native was taken into custody in Poland and extradited to the United States. He was transported by U.S. law enforcement and arrived in Dallas, Texas on March 3rd. Vasinskyi is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted of all counts, he faces a total penalty of 115 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Ransomware continues to be a major threat to organizations. Authorities worried the increased sanctions on Russia may increase the threat of ransomware. Although attacks have continued, there has not yet been a major surge. This still could be a possibility and organizations should take immediate defensive action. To protect against ransomware attacks, organizations should:
• Regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline.
• Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides.
• Implement network segmentation
• Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, secure location (i.e., hard drive, storage device, the cloud).
• Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as practical after they are released. Implement monitoring of security events on employee workstations and servers, with a 24/7 Security Operations Center to detect threats and respond quickly.
• Use multifactor authentication where possible.
• Use strong passwords and regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, implementing the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes.
• Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts.
• Focus on cyber security awareness and training.
• Regularly provide users with training on information security principles and techniques as well as overall emerging cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.