HKCERT, GovCERT launch ransomware social media campaign

HKCERT, GovCERT launch ransomware social media campaignThe HKPC's Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team (HKCERT) and the OGCIO's Government Computer Emergency Response Team Hong Kong (GovCERT.HK) have launched a joint social media campaign to fight ransomware.

The new campaign will seek to strengthen the readiness of Hong Kong businesses and residents in the fight against ransomware attacks.

“The campaign engages the social media so that internet users are better informed on ransomware attacks in the early stage,” HKPC general manager for IT and business processes Wilson Wong said.

“As shown in the WannaCry ransomware attack in May this year, prompt dissemination of ransomware intelligence and security advice can go a long way to minimize the adverse impact of such attacks.”

The campaign is set to last for 12 months and is envisioed to be the first phase of a long-term effort in combatting ransomware and other forms of cyber threats.

As part of the campaign, the organizations have created a new Facebook page, the ransomware intelligence portal, which will be used by HKCERT and major IT and cybersecurity companies to share intelligence on global rends and insights into ransomware and security alerts.

Cisco and Microsoft are the two  technology companies lending their support at the launch of the campaign to fight ransonware in Hong Kong. 

"We will feed the threat intelligence to HKCERT and GovCERT.HK so they can post the information on their website. So, if we see an new attack campaign going on in Europe, we can bring the intelligence to Hong Kong so that we can better prepare before the attack reaches the city," said Garrick Ng, chief technology officer, Cisco Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

On the other hand, Microsoft wilk provide free malware tools so that SMEs and individual users can patch their computers when new threats arise.

"Aside from this, we also collect a lot of threat information by working with global law enforcement and different industry sectors. We will share these contents  with and alert HKCERT and GovCERT.HK  of new threats as they are discovered," said Barry Kong, analyst at DCO, Microsoft Hong Kong. 

Ng agreed: "If there is special intelligence that is coming to Hong Kong, we can forewarn people and advise what actions they have to do to proctect themselves. For example if an attack is ongoing, we will provide some of the indicators sot thayt you can actually check if you are being infected. So this kind of mechanism, we have been with HKCERT for a while."

The third part of the campaign is training by reaching out to schools and SMEs through seminars and webinars.

HKCERT's ransomware page has meanwhile been revamped to provide a clearer picture of the propagation channels and impact of different types of ransomware.

HKCERT announced that there were 309 cases of ransomware reported in Hong Kong in 2016 and 140 in the first eight months of 2017.