Articles By This Author

Chart of the Week Cybercrime Featured Technology

How Cybercrime Became a $1 Trillion Problem

Although the saying “crime doesn’t pay” may have some truth to it, a new report shows that cybercrime does in fact pay—and the numbers are only going up. Monetary losses from cybercrime are estimated to reach $945 billion in 2020, up from $522 billion in 2018 and $300 billion in 2013, according to a study released last week by The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on national security issues, and the cybersecurity firm McAfee….

School desk
Cybercrime Featured Government

FBI, CISA Warn K-12 Schools of a Spike in Ransomware, With More Threats on the Horizon

On Thursday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned that 57% of ransomware attacks reported in August and September to MS-ISAC—a government-funded center that tracks cyberattacks on state, local, and tribal governments—hit K-12 institutions. That’s up from 28% between January and July. The alert suggests that the rapid transition to distance learning in 2020 contributed to cybersecurity gaps, which made schools more vulnerable to attack…

The Hague
Featured Government Nation-state People

Dutch Intelligence Expels Two Russian Diplomats Over Espionage Accusations

The Netherlands’ on Thursday ordered the expulsion of two Russian intelligence officers accused of spying on the country’s high-tech sector and targeting research that could potentially be used in weapons systems, the country’s national intelligence agency said. The Netherlands’ General Intelligence and Security Service, known as AIVD, said that diplomats stationed at the Russian Embassy in The Hague were officers working for the SVR, the Russian civil intelligence agency that was recently reported to be implicated in a high-profile cyberattack against FireEye…

A hacker
Cybercrime Featured Technology

Exploit Kits, Once a Favorite of Cybercriminals, Move To Private Marketplaces

Hacking tools often follow a trend: They’re developed by an individual or group, others adopt it if it works well, and—once organizations become aware of it and start defending themselves—their use declines until they eventually disappear. On the surface, cybersecurity professionals might think that exploit kits are at the tail end of this trend. Exploit kits, which are essentially programs that automate the process of finding and exploiting vulnerabilities, have been around for more than a decade and likely reached their peak in the early 2010s…

Cybercrime Featured Nation-state Technology

What We Know So Far About the FireEye Breach—and Why It Matters

On Tuesday afternoon, cybersecurity firm FireEye announced what is likely one of the most significant cyberattacks of 2020—with itself as the victim. The attack was notable not just because the fallout could be immense, but because it required a brazenness and skill that only the most sophisticated hacking groups could pull off. Details will likely emerge as the FBI, FireEye, and its partners investigate the incident, but here’s what we know already…

FBI warning
Featured Government Nation-state

CISA, FBI Warn of Foreign Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Think Tanks

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Tuesday alerted U.S. think tanks of “persistent continued cyber intrusions” from advanced persistent threat groups. Several individuals who work at think tanks, including Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress who was recently announced to be Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, have already been tapped to join the new administration….

Nintendo Switch
Cybercrime Featured

Hacker Who Stole Nintendo Switch Details Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

A California man who bragged about his hacking exploits on social media and his own online chat forum was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for breaching Nintendo’s servers to steal confidential files on its consoles and games, including information about the Nintendo Switch before it was publicly announced…

Treasury Department
Cybercrime Featured Government Leadership People

A Government Insider on Navigating the New Guidance for Ransomware Payments

When attorney David Cohen was serving in the Treasury Department under the Obama administration—where he was known as the administration’s “financial Batman”—ransomware payments were hardly on the government’s radar, he said. In recent years, however, the ransomware threat has rapidly expanded, crippling countless schools, hospitals, municipalities, and businesses on a daily basis….

An interview with Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins
Cybercrime Featured

An Early Interview With The Dark Overlord: The Hacking Group That Forever Changed Cyber Extortion

In early 2016, Recorded Future analysts observed a threat actor selling stolen healthcare databases containing patient records on an anonymous hacking forum. The actor, who used the moniker “thedarkoverlord,” would soon make a name outside of the cybersecurity community for extorting high-profile targets and publicly demanding ransom payments to stop the release of confidential data. The group would slowly release stolen documents—a playbook that has since been copied by a wide range of ransomware purveyors….

Chart 4
Chart of the Week Featured Government Nation-state

Cyber-Espionage Attacks Disproportionately Target These Industries

Industries frequently targeted by financially-motivated cybercriminals, such as banks and healthcare organizations, are a low priority for attackers engaged in espionage, a new report from Verizon suggests. These attackers, typically linked to nation states, instead focus their efforts on industries that hold data like trade secrets, blueprints and classified government documents…