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Thought Leaders In Direct Contact With Adversaries Provide Insights Into New Cyber Attack Techniques

Bob Gourley

One of the greatest things about the annual RSA Conference is the open sharing of lessons learned between cybersecurity practitioners. One of the sessions I found most rewarding and insightful focused on new cyber attack techniques. This session, moderated by the SANS Institute's Founder and Research Director Alan Paller, included insights from Ed Skoudis, Michael Assante and Johannes Ullrich. Ed Skoudis leads pen testing and hacker exploits immersion training programs at SANS and conducts forensic assessments/diagnoses of major attacks and in doing so maintains continuous awareness of the state of attacks. Michael Assante is highly regarded for his deep knowledge of industrial control systems and is a champion of the emerging discipline of ICS security. Johannes Ullrich is the director of the SANS Internet Storm Center, the early warning system for the Internet.

These great leaders are all known for their ability to convey information succinctly and in ways that stick and this session provided an overview that brought out the best of their knowledge. They structured the discussion around seven new attack techniques.

The session is now available online:

Key takeaways:

  • Expect ransomware to continue to evolve: 150 different families of crypto ransomware today.
  • IoT attacks will continue to evolve: Already used for DDoS. Soon for data extraction.
  • Ransomware and IoT will collide: What if your IoT is shut down till you pay.
  • ICS systems will come under attack, including systems controlling manufacturing plants and buildings
  • Weak random numbers causing a growing concern: Need random numbers of greater entropy.
  • Reliance on web services as software components introduces new threats: Everyone dependent.
  • Threats against new databases (NoSQL) growing: Placing large data at risk.

There are things that can be done to mitigate all these threats. But stopping them starts with awareness.

If you are looking for insights into ways to beat these threats contact us today for more information.


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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com