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Hackers coming back for seconds

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An affiliate of the notorious cyber gang Blackcat/AlphV is rumoured to have attacked the Bermuda Government

The Government is not moving quickly enough to address Bermuda’s cyber-risk exposure, a local tech expert has complained.

“They have increased their cybersecurity budget, but the pace is not fast enough for me,” said Ricardo Mello, founder and chief executive officer of Sentinel CyberSecurity.

He said cyber attacks against Bermuda have ramped up in recent months, revealing that some companies are being hit multiple times.

“If you don’t do anything to improve your cybersecurity after a cyber attack, then the hackers will be able to use the same method to get into your system again,” he said.

Mr Mello said an affiliate of notorious cyber gang Blackcat/AlphV has been involved in at least one attack in Bermuda using a new operation called RansomHub.

What is Blackcat/AlphV?

More than 60 major companies worldwide have been hit by Blackcat/AlphV, including an attack last year that cost MGM Resorts in Las Vegas $100 million. The FBI has warned that the criminal entity is now targeting healthcare organisations. Last month, American firm UnitedHealth Group accused Blackcat of disrupting pharmacies and hospitals nationwide, leaving millions of patients with problems filling prescriptions or seeking medical treatment.

“This is the same group that are rumoured to have attacked the Bermuda Government last May,” he said.

The attack led to weeks of significant challenges for the Government. More recently, the Lindo’s Group of Companies and the Bermuda College also experienced cyber incidents.

Mr Mello worked as a cybersecurity watchdog for firms island-wide for more than 20 years, most recently Clarien Bank and Jewel Bank, before forming Sentinel last year.

Since then, cybersecurity has been a hot topic in Bermuda, but Mr Mello said there had been cyber events long before it became a point of discussion.

“If companies are not required to disclose them, others never know about them,” Mr Mello said. “I have been involved in dealing with some of these events before.”

Some local tech experts have said the attack on the Bermuda Government raised the island’s profile on the dark web.

Ricardo Mello, founder and chief executive officer of Sentinel CyberSecurity (Photograph supplied)

However, Mr Mello said the island already had a reputation for tech security weakness.

To help Bermuda businesses counteract cyber threats, he has partnered with Florida-based cybersecurity firm CyberGen.

“We are working together to provide Bermuda with more robust cybersecurity services,” CyberGen CEO Mike Callahan said.

Mr Mello said Sentinel CyberSecurity wants to provide more comprehensive programmes.

Through the partnership they will be able to offer different tech solutions.

“Both companies leverage AI,” Mr Mello said, “which can help detect threats faster, reduce false positives and provide more effective protection.”

Mr Callahan said the new technology presents both risks and benefits for companies.

He noted: “We took the position of getting ahead of the AI stream by putting together a specialised development team.”

He said in terms of cyber-risks the biggest issues are people implementing technology improperly, not monitoring it after installation and not responding quickly to problems.

He said AI could be trained to respond to, and fix, problems immediately.

CyberGen will also help Sentinel clients with strategic staffing and growth.

The aim is to help small to medium-sized enterprises meet cybersecurity compliance regulations and reduce risks.

Security awareness training and risk assessments are also offered.

Mike Callahan, CyberGen CEO, said AI presents both risks and benefits for companies (File photograph)

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Published April 26, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 26, 2024 at 7:12 am)

Hackers coming back for seconds

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