Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

5/17/2017
10:06 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

FireEye CEO Mandia Talks Rapid Rise of Nation-State Threats

FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia at Interop ITX discussed changes in the geopolitical threat landscape and how attackers target their victims.

INTEROP ITX - Las Vegas - The threat of nation-state attacks isn't new to cybersecurity experts, but it's becoming increasingly complex. Old players and newcomers are raising the stakes for unprepared victims.

Today's global geopolitical landscape was a core focus of FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia's keynote presentation at the Interop ITX conference here today. In the last 12 months, he said, the company has conducted more than 500 breach investigations.

In 90% of the breaches FireEye has investigated, "victim zero" was initially hit with a spearphishing attack and opened a bad link or attachment, which led to the intrusion. In 50% of those breaches, he continued, attackers used features of programs we use every day.

"Attackers are exploiting human trust," Mandia emphasized. The threats are coming from everywhere as threat actors around the world have realized there's no real danger in conducting criminal activity. A lack of consequences will cause cybercrime to escalate.

"There are no risks or repercussions to hacking companies," he explained. Both targeted threats, and "spray and pray" campaigns intended to hit several targets at once, are done with impunity.

Today's organizations face threats from all over the world: FireEye is responding to more state-sponsored intrusions than attacks launched by criminal actors looking for money, Mandia noted.

Major players in the cyberthreat landscape include the Middle East, Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea. He's also seeing a rise in developing nations growing as cyber actors. Vietnam, for example, is not typically considered a military actor but is "actually really good at what they do" in cyberspace.

It's difficult to tell whether an attacker is state-sponsored or a criminal. Nobody really knows what the international rules of engagement are, he said, and security experts are going up against more nation-states where there's no real deterrent for cybercrime.

"We're playing goalie," he said of security organizations building their defenses. "When a nation-state wants to get in, it's like Wayne Gretsky going in on a penalty shot. The puck is going to get in."

In the wake of last week's widespread and damaging WannaCrypt ransomware worm attack, Mandia said ransomware is an example of how today's organizations are not taking the basic necessary steps to face modern cybersecurity threats.

The fact that a server message block (SMB) exploit could spread to 200,000 machines is a sign "the hygiene still isn't there," he explained.

"I'm fifty-fifty on whether we'll figure out who did WannaCry," he continued, noting that whoever did the attack didn't want it to get such widespread attention. Now the culprit can't collect the ransom without being named for the attack.

"Cybersecurity has never been more important," said Mandia of current and emerging threats. People don't fully realize the implications of what could happen if their company was forced to go completely off the grid. The rise of IoT, especially with the integration of technology and physiology in smart health devices, will drive the spread of malware when it hits.

Cyberattacks are hitting, and will continue to hit, businesses in new and unexpected ways. Anyone working in a security-related role should have a worst-case scenario in mind, and be thinking about how an attacker would evade their organization's security measures, he said.

Related Content

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
The Problem with Artificial Intelligence in Security
Dr. Leila Powell, Lead Security Data Scientist, Panaseer,  5/26/2020
10 iOS Security Tips to Lock Down Your iPhone
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  5/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13693
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
An unauthenticated privilege-escalation issue exists in the bbPress plugin before 2.6.5 for WordPress when New User Registration is enabled.
CVE-2020-13173
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
Initialization of the pcoip_credential_provider in Teradici PCoIP Standard Agent for Windows and PCoIP Graphics Agent for Windows versions 19.11.1 and earlier creates an insecure named pipe, which allows an attacker to intercept sensitive information or possibly elevate privileges via pre-installing...
CVE-2019-6342
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
An access bypass vulnerability exists when the experimental Workspaces module in Drupal 8 core is enabled. This can be mitigated by disabling the Workspaces module. It does not affect any release other than Drupal 8.7.4.
CVE-2020-11082
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
In Kaminari before 1.2.1, there is a vulnerability that would allow an attacker to inject arbitrary code into pages with pagination links. This has been fixed in 1.2.1.
CVE-2020-5357
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-28
Dell Dock Firmware Update Utilities for Dell Client Consumer and Commercial docking stations contain an Arbitrary File Overwrite vulnerability. The vulnerability is limited to the Dell Dock Firmware Update Utilities during the time window while being executed by an administrator. During this time wi...