News & Events

Cybersecurity News: Cybercrime up in 2017, Bitcoin Wallet Hijacked, Congress Addressing Section 702 Authority, and More.

Cybersecurity News for the Week Ending 8 December 2017

Cybercrime More Prevalent in 2017

Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes reports that cybercrime increased dramatically in 2017 compared to 2016. The number of cyber attacks attributed to cyber criminals increased 23% year over year. The report noted that 28% of UK businesses experienced a crimeware attack in 2016. Ransomware attacks increased by 62% from January to October in 2017 compared to 2016. Most of the increase is attributed to four groups: organized crime, state-sponsored attackers, ideological hackers, and hackers-for-hire. (, 7 December 2017,

Bitcoin Wallet Hijacked in UK

NiceHash is a Bitcoin exchange site. It announced on 6 December 2017 that its Bitcoin wallet had been breached, resulting in a loss of about 4,700 Bitcoins. The cost to NiceHash was between $70-95m. The exact amount is hard to determine because of the surging price increases in Bitcoin over the past week.

ISIS Cyber Attack Doesn’t Materialize

ISIS promised a massive cyber attack on 8 December in response to the U.S. endorsement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Caliphate promised to “bring America to its knees” with the attack, which would be the start of a “massive cyber war.” However, aside from a website defacement in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, no evidence of a massive cyber attack on America was evident. (The CyberWire, 8 December 2017)

Russian Cyber Criminals Attack UK Businesses

UK businesses have been targeted by Russian ransomware attacks in recent weeks. Ransom demands have been as high as £100,000. (The CyberWire, 7 Dec)

Congress to Deal with Section 702 Authority

Electronic surveillance based on Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendment Act (FAA) is up for renewal in Congress. Section 702 was included in the FAA and was authorized for five years. It allows signals intelligence targeting of foreign persons outside the United States without a warrant so long as there is a valid intelligence reason. The authorization was extended in 2012 and, unless renewed, expires at the end of this month. Renewing the authority, or making it permanent, is a high priority for the U.S. Intelligence Community. The Trump Administration has suggested that certain aspects of Section 702 may continue even without the reauthorization of Section 702. (The CyberWire, 7 Dec; Washington Post 26 October 2017)

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