Hackers have breached the servers of email provider VFEmail.net and wiped the data from all its US servers, destroying all US customers’ data in the process. The attack took place on the 11th of February 2019.
VFEmail.net is a US-based company providing secure, private email services since 2001. Its founder, Rick Romero, described the attack as “catastrophic” as it completely wiped out “all data” on their US servers, including the backup systems.
“Yes, @VFEmail is effectively gone. It will likely not return. I never thought anyone would care about my labor of love so much that they’d want to completely and thoroughly destroy it.”
Romero wrote on Twitter.
Reasons behind the VFEmail still unknown
The attack virtually erased the company’s entire infrastructure within just a few hours. VFEmail is working to recover user emails, but data for US customers appear to have been deleted permanently. There was no overt reason nor ransom request behind the attack, which was purely destructive. This is a fair new strategy in cyberattacks: it rarely occurs for a hacker to wipe out an entire company’s data, as they usually compromise servers to perform other attacks or to ask for a ransom. For now, it is hard to say why this happened or who is responsible; a statement posted to the company’s website points to an IP address registered in Bulgaria.
Hermeneut’s point of view
As the attack just simply wiped out the entire company’s infrastructure, including all of its virtual machines, databases and backups, the company may be simply over. Similarly, in June 2014 Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider Code Spaces was forced to shut down after hackers breached and wiped its servers.
But has the attack totally wiped out VFEmail’s economic value as well, as estimated by the WP3 “Micro and macro-economics models of intangible cyber-costs”? Can their brand, reputation and some other intangible assets survive somehow? And which is the role that a cyberinsurance may have had in this case, if they were insured?
This event calls for Business Resiliency Planning on a whole new Level. The Hermeneut team will follow closely this attack, which may inspire our sectorial White Papers to be released next April.