In this blog series, our Executive Director highlights a selection of cybersecurity, physical security, health or natural threat related stories from the past week.


PSA: Threat Actors Now Double Encrypting Data with Multiple Ransomware Strains

Emsisoft has recently observed a new trend of threat actors using multiple strains of ransomware to double-encrypt data, in order to further complicate the recovery process and increase their chances of a payout. The double extortion method referred to in this article occurs when a single threat actor chooses to deploy multiple strains of ransomware on the same network. It is important to note that this is not the same type of multi-ransomware attack we have seen in the past, in which one network is compromised by multiple threat actors, resulting in multiple ransomware variants being deployed on the same network in separate attacks. The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have outlined these “Best Practices for Preventing Business Disruption from Ransomware Attacks.” Emisoft released a new report on ransomware statistics for the first quarter of 2021. “After an extremely profitable 2020, there was little chance of threat actors taking their foot off the gas as we entered 2021. In the first quarter of the year, tens of thousands of businesses, public entities and home users were hit by ransomware.” 

Physical Security

Increase in Gun-Related Violence Emphasizes Importance of Active Shooter Preparedness

Recent escalation in gun-related violence stresses the need for the critical infrastructure community to prepare for an active shooter incident. CISA provides a variety of online resources and webinars that support capacity building efforts which allow organizations to prepare for, mitigate the impacts of, and respond to an incident. Cannabis businesses that operate with a lot of cash are naturally a target for potential gun-related incidents. The CISA Active Shooter Preparedness Program focuses on building capacity to more effectively identify behavioral indicators that may denote a potential attack, potential attack methods, emergency action plan creation, and how to quickly recover from an incident. For example, through the CISA Active Shooter Preparedness web page, stakeholders can access products, tools, videos, and translated resources.  As some of the incidents were perpetrated by an insider known to the organization, CISA provides resources to mitigate the insider threat via the Insider Threat Mitigation web page.  Additionally, CISA makes available an online training, IS-907 “Active Shooter: What You Can Do,” hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute, that provides information regarding the run, hide, fight approach that can assist individuals in taking appropriate action to increase the chance of survival. To date, over one million people have successfully completed the course.  

Natural Threats

NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020. According to NOAA, “For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.” Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity. While this year’s season isn’t predicted to be as severe as 2020, acting NOAA administrator Ben Friedman emphasized “it only takes one storm to devastate a community.” In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

  • “In March, NOAA upgraded the flagship Global Forecast System(GFS) to improve hurricane genesis forecasting and coupled GFS with a wave model extending ocean wave forecasts from 10 days out to 16 days…
  • “Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are now using an upgraded probabilistic storm surge model — known as P-Surge— which includes improved tropical cyclone wind structure and storm size information that offers better predictability and accuracy…
  • “NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory will deploy its largest array of air and water uncrewed systems to gather data designedto help improve hurricane intensity forecasts and forecast models.”

All organizations within the traditional threat area for hurricanes are recommended to review all available resources to ensure they are prepared for another season.

Be sure to check back every Tuesday as we publish our Library Card Series where we highlight one of the resources available in our library!

Check out the latest blog!