After the hack on the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which is responsible for the US military communication as well as calls made by President Donald Trump, the neighbouring nation Mexico's economy ministry suffered a severe cyber-attack on its servers Sunday, Feb 23.
In the case of DISA hack, it was revealed that personal data of about 200,000 people has been exposed, but Mexico stated that sensitive information had not been extracted in the current attack and it has since boosted its safety measures.
As per Reuters, in the letters to the potential victims of the breach which occurred between May and July 2019, it was mentioned that personal data may have been compromised "in a data breach" of a system hosted by the DISA.
It should be noted that DISA provides direct telecommunications and IT support for the president, Vice President Mike Pence, their staff, the US Secret Service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior members of the armed forces.
Director of strategic threat at cybersecurity firm Darktrace and ex-CIA officer, Marcus Fowler state that such information can be invaluable for nation-states plotting further attacks. In addition, he said "I think they often undervalue the importance of the information they share. As an intelligence officer, every bit of intel from any variety of places can be used to target individuals, organisations, any number of things."
Mexico ministry cyber attack
The security breach follows the high-profile cyberattack on Pemex, which translates to Mexican Petroleum, in November 2019 when hackers demanded $5 million in bitcoin as ransom and forced the Mexican state-owned petroleum company to shut down its computers throughout the country.
The Mexican ministry has advised providers to temporarily isolate networks and servers. Reports claimed that the processing of few forms would be delayed for the time being in a bid to protect their legal status. The economy ministry stated: "Following an extensive revision, some of the ministry's servers have been identified as affected, mostly email and archive servers. The ministry's sensitive information, as well as that of its users, is not considered compromised."
However, it was not immediately clear whether the cyber attackers demanded any ransom as was the case for Pemex. Companies taken hostage digitally can suffer catastrophic damage, regardless of whether they pay a ransom or not.