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Friday, 07 June 2024 13:23

Panasonic allegedly breached - contracts, project files stolen, claims ransomware group Akira Featured

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Another day, another major company breached. The ransomware group Akira alleges to have stolen projects, contracts, and other confidential information from Panasonic. The electronics giant confirms a cybersecurity event has taken place, but denies any data has been taken.

The dark web announcement was picked up immediately by eagle-eyed Sustainibil.IT founder and CEO Caity Randall who noted that Australia "seems to be quite the target of late."

Randall is also an ANZ Senior Fellow for the Cyber Security Forum Initiative.

"This incident highlights the critical importance of investing in advanced threat intelligence and detection technologies – Australia is quickly becoming a considerable target for malicious actors. At Sustainabil.IT, we advocate for proactive cyber security strategies that not only mitigate risks but also deliver measurable ROI," Randall said.

"For instance, technologies like SentinelOne XDR can effectively detect and respond to threats such as Akira ransomware. Additionally, using threat intelligence platforms like Flashpoint can significantly reduce risk and enhance protection."

"Instead of succumbing to fear, businesses should leverage these advanced tools and conduct regular security reviews. With proper planning and proactive approaches, we can turn this evolving threat landscape challenge into an opportunity to strengthen our defences and ensure a safer digital future."

In their dark web post, Akira claims to have breached Panasonic's cybersecurity and says the group will share the files they have stolen. They assert the files contain information about projects and confidential agreements, among other data. The group indicated it will come up with a catchy name for the dump and then make it available for downloading.

Panasonic Australia informed iTWire that a security incident has occurred, but the company states there is no evidence that any data has, in fact, been taken.

"Panasonic Australia recently experienced a security incident on our network and we took immediate action to secure our systems and initiate a thorough investigation by forensic IT specialists. We are satisfied that the Panasonic network is secure and our day-to-day operations are continuing as per normal," said a Panasonic Australia spokesperson.

"We are aware of an unauthorised third party who has claimed to have accessed our network. We are promptly investigating this claim but at this stage of our investigation, there is no evidence to suggest that any business or personal information has been accessed by the unauthorised third party. We have also been conducting continuous 24-hour monitoring on our network and can confirm that no further threats have been detected."

"Panasonic Australia apologises for any concern caused and will continue to keep our staff and partners updated in a timely and transparent manner."

According to cybersecurity company Sentinel One's writeup on Akira, "actors behind Akira practice multi-extortion tactics and host a TOR-based (.onion) website where victims are listed along with any stolen data should a victim fail to comply with the ransom demands. Victims are instructed to contact the attacker via their TOR-based portal (.onion) where they enter a unique identifier provided in the ransom note they receive to begin the negotiation process. The group is known to require outrageous ransom payments, reaching hundreds of millions of dollars."

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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