Welcome back to This Week in Cloud, our update on the latest headlines from the intersection of cloud computing and cybersecurity.  This week, we’ll talk about the price of a cyber attack, HBO (again!), and phishing attacks.

A $300 Million Ransomware Attack

The NotPetya cyberattack in June simultaneously affected many organizations around the world. Shipping giant Maersk suffered interruptions to its global business for weeks. In its Q2 earnings call, the company warned that the attack will impact revenue by up to $300 million. Cyber attack costs in the hundreds of millions are not unheard of. Yahoo’s data breach also took over $300 million off the company’s acquisition price. Notably, Maersk’s incident did not involve lost data, meaning the cost came exclusively from lost revenue due to service interruptions. The cost highlights the asymmetry of cyberattacks; the attack asked for $300 worth of bitcoin to return control of a system to the end user.

Shipping Company Maersk Says June Cyberattack Could Cost It Up to $300 Million | Jordan Novet, CNBC

How to Recover from a Ransomware Attack | Steve Ragan, CSO

Game of Groans at HBO

Once again, HBO has found itself in the news for all the wrong reasons. The company suffered from several unintended episode premieres as a result of cybersecurity incidents, both sophisticated and self-inflicted.

The hackers who compromised HBO’s systems earlier this month leaked additional unreleased episodes of popular HBO shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm. The leakers intend to put more pressure on HBO to pay their demands. Our research has found that over a quarter of companies would be willing to pay one million dollars to prevent a data breach, but paying sets a dangerous precedent and does not guarantee hackers will cooperate.

As if malicious attackers weren’t enough, an episode of Game of Thrones accidentally leaked through an international partner of HBO. HBO shows like Game of Thrones are among the most pirated in history. HBO’s security incidents are an example of how the leak of confidential data can be catastrophic and difficult to measure. This leak is a cruel lesson that internal errors can be just as damaging as sophisticated malicious attacks. Companies should be just as vigilant with enforcing their partners’ data security practices as they are with their own internal policies.

Another ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode Leaked Early Via a Partner | Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Hackers Release More HBO Episode Shows | Jilian Mincer, Reuters

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Phishing Attacks Broaden

Phishing attacks have led to extremely costly and embarrassing hacks. Last year, hackers linked to North Korea successfully funneled $100 million dollars from the account of the Bangladesh central bank using a stolen password. Now Hungary’s central bank has reported phishing attempts targeting the customers of three of the nation’s largest banks. Hackers created phishing pages that mimic the bank’s sign-in page in an attempt to steal employee passwords. Phishing attacks rely on tricking users, whether employees or customers. In addition to staying suspicious of unknown links and double-checking the URL of webpages, users should implement multi-factor authentication to protect accounts from stolen passwords whenever possible.

The latest trend in phishing involves using messaging services like Slack to target attacks. Employers typically train employees on recognizing phishing emails, but phishing attacks through collaboration and file sharing applications can be unexpected and persuasive. Aside from MFA, companies should have monitoring in place to detect if employees’ corporate cloud accounts are compromised.

Hackers Have Been Targeting 3 Major Hungarian Banks with Series of Phishing Attacks Since June | Hyacinth Mascarenhas, International Business Times

Slack Attack – Phishing Scams Target Blockchain Companies | Matthew De Silva, ETHNews

By the Numbers

1.8 million

The number of Chicagoan voter records found exposed on a cloud storage site


The top reward for Microsoft’s bug bounty program, one of the largest in the industry


The number of hours within which insurers must report a data breach according to a new guidance from an industry association