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The Vulkan Files: A Call to Action for Information Security

In today’s world, where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, information security has become a crucial issue. The Vulkan Files, a recent leak of confidential documents, have highlighted the magnitude of the threats we face in the cyber realm.

Archivos Vulkan

More than 5,000 pages extracted from “NTC Vulkan,” a Russian “cybersecurity” firm, reveal an alarming landscape. Between 2016 and 2021, Russian intelligence agencies conducted a network of cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and mass surveillance, extending their influence over critical infrastructures, governments, companies, and citizens.



Below are three of the most impactful attacks leaked in the Vulkan files.


Viasat Attack


On February 24, 2022, amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, a large-scale cyberattack targeted the KA-SAT network of Viasat, a company specializing in satellite communications. The goal of this attack was clear: to disrupt both military and civilian communications in Ukraine.


The attack vector materialized through the insertion of Cyclops Blink malware into Viasat’s computer systems. This malware spread across the internal network using credential stuffing and brute force attacks. Once infiltrated, Cyclops Blink had the ability to modify the firmware of KA-SAT satellite routers, causing service interruptions for thousands of users in Europe, including Ukraine, and affecting communications for the Ukrainian armed forces and other critical entities.


NotPetya Attack

NotPetya


In June 2017, the NotPetya ransomware attack became a global plague, infecting and extorting businesses and organizations worldwide. The ransomware spread through an email infected with NotPetya malware, which disguised itself as a Microsoft software update to deceive users.


Once the user executed the infected file, the malware encrypted the computer’s files and demanded a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. NotPetya also had the ability to propagate automatically through local networks, allowing it to infect thousands of devices within hours, causing economic damage estimated in the billions of dollars, demonstrating the reach and potential impact of such attacks.


Amezit


Amezit, extracted from the Vulkan Files, is presented as a system designed to control information and monitor online activities. It functions as an advanced digital surveillance tool, analyzing internet traffic, filtering content, and monitoring communications, turning every click, message, and post into detailed observations.


Its arsenal includes intercepting messages, creating fake social media profiles, and mass dissemination of disinformation. Bots flood networks with false content, censor dissenting opinions, and manipulate the information flow to shape public perception. Beyond passive surveillance, Amezit can actively intervene, creating fake profiles indistinguishable from real users, sowing discord, and manipulating online conversations.


Beyond Cyberwarfare


While the Vulkan Files reveal details about the Russian government’s cyberwarfare activities, this article focuses on a fundamental aspect: the importance of information security for everyone.


Consequences of Poor Security


Cyberattacks can have devastating consequences for individuals, businesses, and governments. The theft of confidential data is one of the most harmful repercussions, as personal, financial, or strategic information can be compromised, exposing individuals and organizations to significant risks such as identity theft, financial fraud, and loss of intellectual property.


Additionally, system disablement is another critical consequence. Cyberattacks can paralyze critical infrastructures, essential services, and business operations. From disrupting online services to deactivating corporate networks, these events can have an immediate and long-term impact on the functionality of entire organizations.


Lessons Learned from the Vulkan Files


The information revealed in these documents provides an unprecedented view of the tactics and tools used by malicious actors. Among the lessons learned, we can highlight:


  • The need for a security culture: Security should not be the sole responsibility of a specialized department or team but a commitment of the entire organization.

  • The importance of investing in security: Implementing robust security measures and keeping them updated is essential to minimize risks.

  • The need for proper training: Staff must be aware of threats and know how to act in case of an attack.

  • The importance of collaboration: Cooperation between businesses, governments, and international organizations is crucial to combat cyber threats.


Mitigating Risks: Steps to Protect Yourself


  • Implement basic security measures: Besides antivirus and firewalls, educating staff on identifying phishing is key. Anti-phishing filters and verification practices reinforce the defense against malicious links, balancing technology with user awareness.

  • Perform regular backups: Regular backups are a lifesaver in case of attacks. Regularly backing up critical data establishes a restoration point that facilitates recovery in case of loss or damage.

  • Keep software updated: Constant software updates are a key defense against known vulnerabilities. Patches and security updates provide fixes to potential breaches that cybercriminals could exploit.

  • Train staff: A well-informed staff acts as an additional barrier, contributing to incident prevention and early detection of potential threats.


A Call to Action


Information security is not a topic to be taken lightly. The Vulkan Files serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting our data and systems. It’s time to take steps to strengthen our defenses and minimize risks.














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