UPDATED 21:42 EST / DECEMBER 09 2020

SECURITY

Cloud hosting provider Netgain struck by ransomware attack

Cloud hosting and information technology services provider Netgain Technology Inc. has been struck by a ransomware attack that has forced the company to take some of its data centers offline.

According to Bleeping Computer Wednesday, the ransomware attack was first reported by Netgain to its customers on Nov. 24. An email Dec. 4 warned customers of “system outages or slowdowns” from an ongoing cyberattack targeting the hosting provider. Another email Dec. 5 to customers stated that Netgain had been forced to shut down some of its data centers to isolate and contain the ransomware attack.

The company has not publicly commented on the reports either on its website or on social media channels. A client of Netgain, Crystal Practice Management, emailed its customers Wednesday saying that it had a briefing with the hosting provider. It was told that thousands of Netgain servers had been affected by the ransomware attack and that the company was working around the clock to get the servers back online.

Exactly how many clients have been affected is unknown. Netgain provides cloud hosting and IT services to the healthcare industry and financial services providers. The website for Crystal Practice Management remains offline.

Given that ransomware attacks in 2020 increasingly involved the theft of data, that the company has yet to publicly disclose the attack themselves is surprising. At the very least, it will likely have clients in California and will be bound by the California Consumer Privacy Act, and if it has clients in Europe, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation comes into play.

“The ransomware attack on Netgain spotlights the devastating impact a ransomware attack can have, not just on the victim, but its customers as well.” Sanjay Jagad, senior director of products and solutions at enterprise data storage company Cloudian Inc., told SiliconANGLE. “Given the increasing sophistication of ransomware, any company could suffer an attack spanning multiple weeks, like Netgain.”

Trevor Morgan, product manager with data security specialists comforte AG, noted that Netgain has apparently been working proactively to isolate and mitigate the situation while keeping the customer base fully informed.

“This response is appropriate and admirable given the situation,” Morgan explained. “In the wake of these types of data security incidents, the best-case scenario is that the service disruptions are a nuisance but that sensitive data remains protected.”

Morgan said the incident offers a lesson to others. “If your business relies on cloud services for data handling, processing, and storing, you are responsible for the protection of sensitive data,” he said. “If regulations are broken, your business must answer for the way that you handle and protect peoples’ sensitive data in the cloud. This should not inspire fear but rather should encourage you to reassess how you are protecting your customers’ most sensitive, private information no matter where that data is.”

Photo: BalticServers/Wikimedia Commons

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