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The Rising Threat - Examining the Largest Cyber Attacks in the Past Two Months

by Erik Briceno

As we’ve mentioned in several prior articles and social media posts, malware, ransomware and data breaches have seen a significant increase this past year. The majority of it can be directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s only getting worse.

Several incidents have occurred in just the past month or two alone, and today we’re going to outline a few and explain what happened, what caused them and how they possibly could have been prevented.

The Carnival Ransomware Attack

On Aug. 15, Carnival Corporation — the $20.8 billion corporation best known for its cruises — suffered a ransomware attack. The attacker accessed and encrypted a portion of one cruise liner brand’s information technology systems and exfiltrated sensitive customer information for extortion purposes.

What makes this even more serious is that this came only months after the company announced a similar incident in March. Its Princess and Holland Cruise Line operations experienced a malicious data breach thanks to a phishing campaign. Worse, however, was the fact that the attack itself actually took place in 2019.

But perhaps the worst part of all is that a cyber intelligence company says that it saw evidence of a network compromise and malware infection at Carnival, spanning from Feb. 2 through June 6, 2020. When they attempted to alert Carnival, they never received a response back.

The Canon USA Ransomware Attack

On Aug. 5, 2020, Bleeping Computer broke the story that Canon suffered a ransomware attack by a cybercrime group known as Maze. It had a major impact on numerous services, including Canon’s email, Microsoft Teams, USA website and other internal applications. As part of the attack, Maze claimed to have stolen 10 terabytes of data. After Canon refused to negotiate, the ransomware operators stated that they were publishing 5% of the total data stolen from Canon during the attack on Maze’s data leak website.

Maze operators use a form of ransomware that typically targets enterprise companies. The group’s malware encrypts networks, and a ransom note is then displayed. Unfortunately, simply restoring from a backup isn’t enough. Since it’s both an encryption attack as well as a data leak threat, the damage is already done once the data is out there for anyone to see.

The Twitter Hack

The Rising Threat - Examining the Largest Cyber Attacks in the Past Two MonthsEarlier in July, an attacker successfully manipulated a small number of Twitter employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through two-factor protections. This resulted in 130 high-profile accounts being compromised — 45 of which allowed the attacker to log into the account, reset their password and send out public tweets while pretending to be the real account owner.

This type of attack is what’s known as a social engineering scheme — where an attacker uses the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information such as passwords, bank information or access to “secret question” answers through personal details.

Attacks like these three are only the tip of the iceberg. So much has happened this past year that is currently being reported, and we alert everyone about them daily on our social media feed as they occur. One can only wonder how much more is going unreported.


So, how do you protect yourself from similar attacks? Make secure offsite backups. Have up-to-date security solutions, ensuring that your computers are protected with the latest patches against newly discovered vulnerabilities. Use hard-to-crack, unique passwords to protect sensitive data and accounts, and enable multi-factor authentication. You should encrypt your sensitive data wherever possible. And you need to educate and inform staff about risks and the methods used by cybercriminals to electronically infiltrate organizations.

And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest cybersecurity news and important directives from government agencies.


Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY!

About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
The Rising Threat - Examining the Largest Cyber Attacks in the Past Two Months
The Rising Threat – Examining the Largest Cyber Attacks in the Past Two Months