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I spy with my beady eye ...

18 Jan 2020

NBlog Jan 18 - business discontinuity



As if following a cunning plan (by sheer coincidence, in fact) and leading directly on from my last two bloggings about business continuity exercises, Belgian manufacturing company Picanol suffered a ransomware infection this week, disabling its IT and halting production of high-tech weaving machines at its facilities in Ypres, Romania and China.



Fortunately, Picanol's corporate website is still up and running thanks to Webhosting.be, hence management was able to publish this matter-of-fact press release about the incident:






Unsurprisingly, just a few short days after it struck, technical details about the "massive ransomware attack" are sparse at this point. The commercial effects, though, are deemed serious enough for trading in its shares to have been suspended on the Brussels bourse. 

There's already plenty of information here for a case study in February's awareness module. Through a brief scenario and a few rhetorical questions, we'll prompt workers to consider the implications both for Picanol and for their own organizations. If a similar malware incident occurred here, knocking out IT and production for at least a week, what would be the effects on workers, the company, its customers and other stakeholders? How should management respond, after such an incident ... and what can be done now to reduce the risks?

Normally our case studies are designed for the general staff awareness audience. This one, however, appeals to the management and tech/specialist audiences too, with only minor changes of emphasis in the questions to prompt discussion and learning.

I'm sad to say that Picanol and Travelex are not the only recent newsworthy incidents involving malware: ransomware in particular is a 'real and present danger' right now. For security awareness purposes in general, regardless of the specific topics, we rarely struggle to find relevant incidents to discuss ... largely because we choose awareness topics that are topical. It's not always quite so easy for topics such as APT malware (Advanced Persistent Threats), insider threats, industrial and commercial espionage, or other incidents that are normally kept quiet by victims, but somehow we've always managed.

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