April '20

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84 • RV PRO • April 2020 rv-pro.com the ransomware break-in without risking public exposure to any of its data, the expe- rience understandably put a scare into top management there. "We have moved to encrypted servers in multiple locations throughout the country and retain a third-party moni- toring company that assesses threats and the security of our servers on a daily basis," Blumenthal says. Even so, the hackers still keep coming at Blumenthal's dealership – just as they keep probing other companies. "We routinely receive spoofed emails appearing as if they are coming from an employee or vendor," Blumenthal says. "It has definitely put us in a heightened state of awareness and we practice redundancy to validate where incoming communica- tion originates." Notably, there are different groups of hackers with different levels of expertise. "Many (members) are script kiddies (casual computer users without deep knowledge of computer code) or amateur hackers," says Sharon D. Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, a computer security consulting firm. "But there is a core group of hackers who have extraordinary skills. They present one of the greatest security threats of recent years. And we have not, so far, done a lot to counter their intrusions." One trend that is particularly worri- some is the 'professionalization' of hacking that has emerged during the past years, according to Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response, who says scores of today's hackers have become 9-5 workers, with holidays, vacations and many of the other trappings Assoc.iated with legitimate employment. "Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly-skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours," he says. "We are even seeing low-level crim- inal attackers create call center operations to increase the impact of their scams." Ransomware at Epidemic Levels Rich Conklin, an IT security con- sultant and owner of Executive Com- puter Solutions, says one of his clients was recently hit with ransomware, which brought down 28 of its computers. "Because they had a formal, data back-up program for their business – which I recommended and maintain – I was able to get most of their data restored later the same day," Conklin says. Ryan Naraine, a head of the global research and analysis at Kaspersky Lab, hears network take-over horror stories like Conklin's every day. "Right now, ransomware is an epi- demic," he says. "Although it has been around for more than a decade, we have seen a recent explosion of new ransomware families that is cause for serious concern." Just how pervasive ransomware is today is difficult to say, because security experts in this field say many victims quietly pay off their attackers without notifying the authorities. However, Emsisoft, a secu- rity firm that helps companies attacked by ransomware, provided information to the New York Times showing that 205,280 organizations submitted files that had been hacked in a ransomware attack in 2019, representing a 41 percent increase from the year before. While no data exists on the number of RV-related businesses attacked by ran- somware, it is known that Trailer Source RV Centers is not the only business in the industry to suffer harm. Georgia-based supplier Southwire, which makes surge guards for the RV market, suffered a cyber-attack late last year. The company said it was subsequently able to take action to minimize the damage. Meanwhile, some of the newest variants of ransomware are even popping-up on smartphones and other mobile technolo- gies, according to recent a report released by F-Secure CEO Christian Fredrickson. The security take-away? RV businesses of all sizes need to make peace with the fact that hackers won't be neutralized any time soon, security experts say. And those businesses need to be honest with themselves that their current com- puter defenses are probably silly putty in the hands of experienced of hackers. The best way to begin hardening the online digital perimeter of an RV busi- ness is to realize that the person or staff responsible for a company's web security is the over-arching factor in keeping the RV Colorado-based Trailer Source RV Centers was recently victimized by ransomware. The dealership reports it was able escape from the ransomware break-in without risking public exposure to any of its data, but the experience understandably put a scare into top management there, which has added additional security measures.

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