French TV network TV5Monde has revealed additional details about the cyber attack in April that took down all 12 of its channels. Using a series of targeted attacks, the hackers first breached the network on the 23rd of January and were able to remain there until an engineer discovered a corrupted machine and shut it down. The attack was far more sophisticated and targeted than reported at the time. IT security experts from Digital Guardian and Barracuda Networks commented below.
Luke Brown, VP and GM EMEA, India and LatAm at Digital Guardian:
“The TV5 hack demonstrates how a well-thought-out incident response plan can limit the damage done by hackers. By identifying the corrupted machine causing the damage, one of the technicians was able to neutralise the attack at the source. Many businesses don’t realise that incident response is a process, not an isolated event. Plans should be developed and reviewed on an ongoing basis and include threat intelligence and cyber hunting exercises, which allow for more proactive incident response. In the event of an incident, the response team should focus solely on containing and fixing the incident. That can be easier said than done when the panic sets in. Gathering as much information as possible will prove extremely helpful after the initial impact has subsided.”
Wieland Alge, VP & GM EMEA at Barracuda Networks:
“Most businesses are still not taking the necessary actions to protect themselves and their customers. Many are still ignorant to the fact that everyone has become a target and an astonishing number are surprised that they have been attacked at all.
“That’s not to say that these cyber threats are simple to defend against. Cyber criminals are shifting towards more targeted attacks and more advanced malware that cannot be detected by traditional anti-virus and scanners. It appears that TV6Monde was targeted with such an attack. These attacks rely on building a well-researched profile of the target organisation or individual. Most people are trying to get things done quickly, so it really isn’t difficult to trick them. Many companies are vulnerable against a type of attack that does not only use technology, but a well-trained team of people.
“We are in a kind of golden age for digital crime. The business has injected change at accelerating speed into all elements of IT and many organisations are simply trying to keep their security stable. It has become quite easy for attackers to find an unprotected door.”