This Week in Hacker News + Day #1 of our Network Defender Challenge

Welcome to Day #1

We’re excited to have all of our Admins and Managers participating in today’s Challenge! Today’s task involves thinking and performing reconnaissance like a hacker. For current participants in the challenge, what did you think of the first task? Was this something you’d thought of before?

Missed you this time? We’d love to have you participate next time for more chances to win prizes and to become a StormWind Network Defender!

For those in the challenge or thinking of joining it next time, here is Mike Vasquez with Day 1 of StormWind’s Network Defender 5-Day Challenge.



Don’t think you or your team has time to take cybersecurity training? We have some bad news courtesy of some hacker news this week:

Small Business Hacks:

Namaste Health Care in Missouri learned the hard way how painful a hack can be, regardless of the size of your company. This clinic has around 1,600 patients. An off-site hacker locked all clinic personnel out of their systems using ransomware. The ransom was for half of a Bitcoin or about $2,000. The clinic had to pay the ransom, offer all patients identity theft protection services, and hire attorneys and a computer firm to figure out the why, who, and how of this hack. The total cost of this hack hasn’t yet been estimated considering the future impact to sales. It hasn’t been determined whether or not customer data was compromised, but the reputation of this clinic has certainly taken a hit.

U.S. Government Warnings by Industry:

The U.S. Department of Education has issued a warning to teachers, parents and K-12 education staff to watch out for a string of targeted hacks on school districts. More than 30 schools have been shut down due to threatening hacks and ransomware. The messages and hacks have involved violent threats as well as threats to release information about students. Districts with a weak data security team or vulnerable systems are being targeted first.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent out a rare public warning that a new wave hackers will be targetting energy and industrial firms. These aggressive hacks are an attempt to undermine the power industry and the public infrastructure of the United States. Cybersecurity agencies have warned that these hackers have already succeeded to infiltrate a few networks and show no signs of stopping. The nuclear, energy and manufacturing sectors are clear targets for this group that may or may not be affiliated with the Russian Federation.

Adobe Flash Vulnerability Found (Again)

If you have not already, make sure that you’ve updated your Adobe Flash with an urgent security patch. The vulnerability “affects all current versions of Flash for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS.” Without patching the system, malicious Flash files, “either hidden on websites or embedded on files, can corrupt internal memory structures and gain remote code execution on a vulnerable machine.” This is a vulnerability that is actively being exploited and all Flash installations need to be updated ASAP!

Unfortunately, hacks like this can happen to any corporation. The size and scope of the hack will change but the threat is the same. All IT professionals need to be constantly training and fortifying their systems from inside and outside threats.

Join our Network Defender 5-Day Challenge to:

– Perform reconnaissance on your own network

– Learn to think like a hacker to defend against one

– Identify tools to arm yourself as a Network Defender

This Challenge is for you if:

– You are an administrator who’s charged with protecting a network

– You are a manager in charge of an IT team who’s responsible for network security

Join the 5-Day Network Defender Challenge