With the news that ransomware attacks are on the decline, in favor of crypto-mining (aka “crypto-jacking”), it is tempting to now reshuffle your enterprise’s defensive priorities based on the adversary trends. But before you retask your Blue Team to focus on researching cryptocurrency miners, let’s take a moment and remember a few key fundamental facts about ransomware, and how it is still different, and more dangerous, from its money-mining “successor”.
When I started GRIMM, I had a vision to tackle the greatest cybersecurity challenges that face our clients, industry and the greater business and government communities. Two and a half years ago, one of those challenges was brought to the company because of our reputation. A Fortune 50 company had been breached and suffered significant damages. As a result, the IT Security team was given a significantly increased budget which they used to hire incredible talent and have their choice of any assessment/penetration testing software available.
The void in the cybersecurity workforce is compounding the level of risk faced by enterprises. The global shortage of skilled security workers could reach 1.8 million in the next five years according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education. Contrast this with plans to boost security teams hiring by at least 15 percent in the same time frame - the numbers don’t add up. This is exacerbated by the increasing volume, variety and veracity of widespread cyberattacks like WannaCry, NotPetya, Locky, and other blockbuster ransomware.
Within the context of historical cyber breaches, this can be classified as a massive attack: Equifax, one of the “big three” credit-rating agencies, announced earlier this month thathackers gained access to the Social Security numbers, credit card data, driver’s licenses, home addresses and other personally identifiable information (PII) of up to 143 million Americans. Some two-dozen class-action lawsuits (and counting?) followed, along with stinging criticism from consumer groups and congressional leaders.