On February 13th, we broke out the hats and balloons (read: hummus and beer) to celebrate Illusive’s 100th software sprint. For 100 releases now, we’ve been helping our customers—hundreds of organizations across industries—revolutionize their ability to stop advanced cyberattackers.
My phone’s been ringing this morning from people wanting to talk about the massive Marriott breach — the revelation that private data associated with up to 500 million people may have been compromised. I’m sure there’s a lot more to learn from the details, but in the meantime, I’ll take a quick minute to jot down some initial thoughts:
More than $2.5 trillion in mergers were announced in the first half of 2018—a new record. Ranked by value of the deal, energy and power deals led, followed by media and entertainment, with healthcare and industrials close behind. Industries are converging and organizations are using acquisitions, divestitures, and other forms of asset remix to reposition their businesses. For example, there are numerous mergers among pharmaceutical, life sciences, and biotech companies as they seek to gain traction in a highly fragmented market. EY predicts that the total value of life sciences M&A will surpass $200 billion in 2018. According to Deloitte, technology acquisition is the primary driver of M&A pursuits, ahead of expanding customer bases in existing markets, and adding products or services.
At a recent industry event, I got to chatting with the CISO of a major children’s hospital. Over a beer, he shared with me the challenges he faces daily. Our far-reaching conversation covered nation-state actors enticing students to exfiltrate clinical trial test results, to his search for a secure USB port cover for patient-facing devices. Maybe it was the beer, but as he described his tribulations, each to me worse than the next, his enthusiasm and energy grew. Every so often he stopped to shake his head in disbelief at his own story as if to say, “Even I can’t believe how bad this is…”
On March 15, 2018, US CERT (U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team) issued a Technical Alert about “Russian government cyber actors” conducting a concerted cyberattack campaign against energy companies. Specifically, they gained access through small organizations connected to the target companies and then “conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems (ICS).”
As we survey the threat landscape, two things are certain—targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs) are here to stay, and organizations face increased risk from advanced attacks compared to the past two years. Several existing trends will continue, and we’re seeing attackers refine their tools in ways that will drive new trends in the coming months.