Image courtesy; Tribal Business News
These attacks are part of a long string of similar instances targeting tribal entities that have occurred since 2016, with recent damages estimated in the millions of dollars.
Ransomware-affected casinos, as well as restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, were forced to shut down their gaming floors, as well as restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, resulting in significant revenue losses as a result of providing limited or no services to customers while working to restore their systems.
According to the FBI, limited cyber investigative capabilities and law enforcement resources are possibly some of the reasons why ransomware gangs perceive US tribes as attractive targets.
REvil (Sodinokibi), Bitpaymer, Ryuk, Conti, Snatch, and Cuba are among the ransomware groups that have coordinated operations against tribal communities.
Tribal entities have experienced operational disruption, loss of sensitive data, and other issues as a result of these attacks.
According to the FBI, these ransomware attacks have harmed tribal-owned businesses and public services, such as tribal governments, healthcare and emergency service providers, and schools.
The impact of the attacks varied depending on the tribal entity targeted, but ransomware operators shut down a tribe’s police department’s computer system, 911 system, and public health system in at least one case.
Following an investigation led by the Cherokee Indian Police Department, which was assisted by the FBI’s Cyber Security Response Team, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the US Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement officials arrested and charged a tribal employee for the cyberattack.
Because the frequency of ransomware attacks and ransom demands has progressively increased in recent years, tribal communities will likely be harmed even more, as they will have to divert additional resources and cash to strengthen their cybersecurity defences.
Last month, the US Treasury released a report detailing the magnitude of financial damages suffered by ransomware victims in recent months.
On the same day, prominent officials from over 30 nations said that their governments would tighten down on ransomware gangs’ use of bitcoin payment channels to fund their activities.