Sunday, German company Telekom saw an outage that stretched into Monday. 900,000 customers were left without Internet, Phone, and Cable service.
Routers across Germany were down for two days, and the company says that it wasn’t a problem with the network; it was identifying routers during the dial-up process. IT analysts found data that suggested the outage was the result of an outside cyber-attack. A spokesperson for the company explained that the analyst found evidence that they were the victim of a hacking attack.
Telekom introduced new software yesterday that fixed the issues preventing customers from having internet, phone, and cable services. Before the introduction of the new software, Telekom suggested customers simply unplug their routers, plugging them back in, and then allowing for a software update. The company reported that some user’s services were restored before the company introduced the new software.
Telekom stated that sometimes interferences are normal, but at this scale they are very rare. So far, the company has said the only time regions are left without services were due to damaged cables during construction.
Germany has become a favorite target for cyber criminals over the years. It was in September that members of several political parties were fooled by fake emails that looked as though they came from NATO, but were instead loaded with spyware that secretly installed itself on the victim’s computers. Hackers even targeted German Parliament in 2015, which is still being blamed on Russia.
Germany has become nervous about the 2017 elections after seeing the actual impact of hacking and leaked documents the recent U.S. elections saw. The United States accused Russia of hacking the DNC this year, and leaking emails and persuading the vote to swing in the Republican direction. The United States also saw a massive service outage on the east coast when hackers took out major servers running popular websites.
Countries all over the world are seeing a rise in cyber-attacks. It’s to the point where major companies have started to stock pile bitcoin because it’s the preferred currency for hackers to collect. Ransomware is seeing an exponential growth lately, and has become the next big business it seems. Earlier this year, Europol released a report that stated they saw ransomware as being the biggest threat to businesses online:
Cryptoware has become the most prominent malware threat, overshadowing data-stealing malware and banking Trojans.
As a way to combat cyber threats, major companies and organizations have started bounty programs where hackers are rewarded for finding and reporting any bugs or malfunctions. The U.S. Army recently announced it was going to be hosting one such bug bounty program. In a partnership with the online vulnerability coordination and bug bounty platform HackerOne, they will be hosting a bug bounty contest. HackerOne has already hosted bounty programs for the government. Hack the Pentagon found 138 vulnerabilities all together in under a month.
As cyber threats continue to grow and evolve, so must the way in which we defend against them. New and more advanced threats are released every day. Threats that grow over night become overwhelmingly hard to control; as we have seen this year.