What if security researchers decide to be cybercrooks?

Many companies are exposing some or all of their proprietary and customer data by putting it in the cloud without any kind of authentication needed to read, alter or destroy it. When cybercriminals are the first to discover these missteps, usually the outcome is a demand for money in return for the stolen data. But when these screw-ups are unearthed by security professionals seeking to make a name for themselves, the resulting publicity often can leave the breached organization wishing they’d instead been quietly extorted by anonymous crooks.

Researchers had discovered that All American Entertainment, a speaker bureau which represents a number of celebrities who also can be hired to do public speaking, had exposed thousands of speaking contracts via an unsecured Amazon cloud instance.

The contracts laid out how much each speaker makes per event, details about their travel arrangements, and any requirements or obligations stated in advance by both parties to the contract. No secret access or password was needed to view the documents.

Anyone who has access to this data pack can know how much Oprah makes per event, Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Newton-John, Michael J. Fox and many others.

Remember everything can be hacked. In order to stay away from any threats related to the cyber world, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running. If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;

In the same day, the company has been alerted, and soon after All American took down its unsecured speaker contract data, and apologized profusely for the oversight, but never offered a good explanation as to why this data needed to be stored in the cloud.
This issue offered some uncomfortable insights into how organizations frequently learn about data leaks these days, and indeed whether if they learn any security lessons from the experience at all.

Companies can also be victims of hacker groups like The Dark Overlord (TDO), the pseudonym used by an individual or group of criminals who have been extorting dozens of companies — particularly healthcare providers — after hacking into their systems and stealing sensitive data.
The Dark Overlord’s method was roughly the same in each attack. Gain access to sensitive data, and send a long, rambling ransom note to the victim organization demanding tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin for the safe return of said data.

Victims were typically told that if they refused to pay, the stolen data would be sold to cybercriminals lurking on Dark Web forums.
As a result, victim organizations tend to react with deep suspicion or even hostility to legitimate researchers and security journalists who alert them about a data breach or leak.

We would continue to monitor this cybersecurity problem. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.