ChannelLife New Zealand logo
Industry insider news for New Zealand's technology resellers
Story image

Examining the future of ransomware threats with Vectra’s CTO

By Contributor
Wed 6 Jul 2022

Article by Vectra chief technology officer Oliver Tavakoli.

In the last few years, businesses and security leaders have been zeroing in on how to better manage and secure cloud infrastructure amidst a wave of change as enterprise cyber-attacks evolve and increase.

Recent studies reveal that 80% of Australian organisations were hit with ransomware in 2021, up from 45% in 2020. Vectra's own research found that 57% of A/NZ respondents feel it is possible or likely they have been breached whilst being unaware it is happening, 75% have experienced a significant security event that required an incident response effort​, and 9% are not fully confident their security tools would protect against sophisticated attacks​.

As a CTO, a big part of my focus is the future, creating 'thought experiments' to determine the best ways to protect our critical data and systems. With planes back in the skies, I was delighted to speak at the Australian Cyber Conference earlier this month to discuss and debate some of these so-called 'experiments' with others in the industry.

Ransomware remains an important topic of debate among cybersecurity professionals in Australia and elsewhere in Europe and the US. The other consistent issue is related to supply chain attacks, including traditional on-premises products as well as services delivered via the cloud.

Within Australia, migration to cloud and SaaS, and the inability to source experienced talent who understand the security implications of clouds, are also connected issues. There is tension between businesses wanting to go agile through cloud adoption and security teams trying to gain visibility and implement security in those environments. In a perfect world, that tension is resolved in a balanced manner, but we don't live in a perfect world and often, the business imperative to rapidly roll out new services outstrips the ability of organisations to do so securely.

The problem with cloud

Not so long ago, on-premise networks were wide open to attackers, so this has been our focus. Now, employee traffic is predominantly accessing applications across the internet. This means we need to look at logs in cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), cloud identity systems such as Azure AD and Okta and collaboration applications such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.

Highlighting how businesses are being inundated with cyber criminals looking to capitalise on vulnerabilities, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) says it received one cybercrime report every eight minutes over the 12 months to June 30, 2021. On top of this, the ACSC states that Australia experienced a 13% jump in cybercrime over the year, with about one incident in four targeting critical infrastructure and services as working from home during the pandemic made more people vulnerable to
online attacks.

A common story is that the pandemic drove businesses to move into multi or hybrid cloud setups, not through a grand strategy but because of a pressing need. As a result, services such as Microsoft 365 or eCommerce platforms were implemented quickly, without consideration for how this impacted infrastructure or security. On top of this, different business units or departments often evolved in different directions, adding layers of complexity. 

Now we find ourselves at a point of reckoning where we must understand the reality of the situation and how to fix it.

Ransomware in the cloud

The move to cloud has left gateways for attackers to leverage and gain a point of entry, and they are beginning to take full advantage of this. On-premise, if a cybercriminal wants to encrypt a business's data, they must go through the laborious exercise of connecting to a server, pulling all data across the network, encrypting it and writing it back to the server – and finally deleting the original copy. 

To be successful, ransomware operators try and get their hooks into as many places as possible and encrypt as much as possible. In the cloud, ransomware operators can leverage server-side encryption provided in the cloud platforms, allowing them to encrypt data much faster and without heavy lifting.

At Vectra, we look at a cloud like AWS or Azure as having two different attack surfaces. There's the traditional attack surface where attackers go through the network to attack a workload running in the cloud, escape the workload, and then steal data. And there's the management plane or the control plane of a cloud platform which represents a more potent and less well-understood set of controls.

Recognising this, Vectra has solutions to cover both attack surfaces. We work to protect customers being attacked from the network, and we work to protect businesses from being attacked at the control plane of their tenant in a cloud. The inbound initial vector can be incredibly complex and varied, but once it lands and establishes some foothold in the environment, we help the business find and stop the incursion before it does actual damage.

Looking forward

As customers' valuable data move to the cloud, so will ransomware. So we are asking questions such as, what does the combination of cloud and ransomware look like, how quickly will attackers become cloud-capable, and what measures should we take now?

This was the focus of my presentation at the Australian Cyber Conference in Canberra and many of the surrounding conversations. Highlighting the early harbingers that exist, I looked at how we can protect ourselves against ransomware in cloud systems and why this is substantially different to the defensive measures required for on-premise.

By discussing such issues, I hope to encourage CISOs to bridge the worlds of security and business so investments can be prioritised and our infrastructure can be protected.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
InternetNZ
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Data Protection
Zero Trust, but verify - finding the OT in ZerO Trust
The move to remote and cloud-based technologies has shifted the goalposts for cybersecurity. It now needs to cover multiple people, devices, platforms, and networks.
Story image
Firewall
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Smartphone
Samsung introduces new generation of foldable smartphones
Samsung has unveiled its new range of Galaxy Z smartphones, bringing new developments to the company’s foldable smartphone portfolio.
Story image
Dicker Data
Dicker Data brought on as Acronis partner for A/NZ
The news about the partnership comes in as cyber criminals continue to exploit gaps in traditional solutions and strategies in NZ and across the APAC region.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat announces 2022 awards winners for A/NZ region
Red Hat recently acknowledged Australia and New Zealand partners with its annual awards, highlighting partners across various categories.
Story image
Financial results
Jade Software’s plan to get back to surplus in 2022
Jade Software has released its latest financial report, revealing that the company has kept its loss low from $567,000 in FY 2020 to just $153,000 in FY 2021.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Developers
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
Gigabit
Keysight Technologies and Nokia’s public test of 800GE success
Keysight and Nokia have successfully demonstrated the first public 800GE test, validating the readiness of next-generation optics for service providers and network operators.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Heidrick & Struggles
Graham Kittle joins us today to discuss how the company is helping organisations bring about change within their business.
Story image
Distribution
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
CyberCX
Nozomi Networks adds nine partners to its MSSP program
OT and IoT security company Nozomi Networks has added nine new members to its MSSP Partner Program, and the list includes CyberCX and Deloitte.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Samsung
New range of Samsung Smart Watches announced with health focus
Samsung has announced new additions to its SmartWatch portfolio, with the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro to be released in late August.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Arlo
Hands-on review: Arlo Go 2 security camera
In my humble opinion, Arlo Go 2 offers security for anyone needing to keep a remote eye on prized possessions or premises at different locations.
Story image
LG Electronics
LG Electronics’ revenue in NZ grows by 57% in FY 2021
The New Zealand branch of LG Electronics Australia's total revenue shot up by nearly NZD $45 million reaching a total of $123.7 million for FY 2021.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Cohesity, Equinix, IDC, Proofpoint & Xero
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 5, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Economics
9 in 10 retailers prepared for economic challenges this year
Some 9 in 10 retailers (86%) are prepared for continued inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending, according to new research.
Story image
Charity
SnapLogic teams up with meetmagic for charity and children
SnapLogic has announced its partnership with meetmagic, an online Australian platform that combines business and philanthropy.
Story image
Microsoft
Spectralink DECT devices now integrated with Microsoft Teams SIP Gateway
Spectralink DECT devices are now integrated with Microsoft Teams SIP Gateway to help create better results for business-critical frontline workers.
Story image
New Zealand
2degrees announces appointments to newly established board
2degrees has announced Liz Coutts as the board chair, while Russell Stanners and Kathy Meads join her as directors.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro NZ sees $74 million revenue growth in 2021
Ingram Micro New Zealand's latest financial report reveals that its revenue from contracts with customers increased by almost $74 million in 2021.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
SaaS
Cloud and data protection big challenges for NZ businesses
"This surge towards a cloud-first approach meant security and safety became afterthoughts - there's no point being the fastest car on the racetrack if you crash.”
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Neat
Workplace design a crucial factor for better employee experience - report
The key to a successful workplace could be its design, according to research from Ecosystm and Neat.
Story image
SaaS
Claroty launches new cloud-based industrial cybersecurity platform
The company says Claroty xDome is the industry's first solution to deliver the ease and scalability of SaaS without compromising on visibility, protection, and monitoring controls.
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Surveillance
Ministry will no longer accept equipment from Chinese firm Hikvision
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it will no longer accept equipment from a major Chinese surveillance camera maker.
Story image
Document Management
TrustRadius gives M-Files two document management awards
TrustRadius has recognised M-Files with both a 2022 Best Feature Set and a 2022 Best Relationship award in document management.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.