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10/18/2021
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WorkScoop
CyberWeek, the premier gathering of cyber minds from government and business, gets underway today. Software developers are increasingly pitching influential investment firms on aggressive technologies, despite the ethical grey areas. And more from #ShareTheMicInCyber. This is CyberScoop for October 18, 2021.

'A lot' of firms are developing offensive cyber techniques

Aggressive cyber tools remain a topic of interest for “a lot of companies” pitching their technology to investors thanks to interest from government agencies and clients trying to test their defensive techniques, according to a former National Security Agency employee turned investor. Ron Gula, co-founder of the cyber investment firm Gula Tech Adventures and co-founder of Tenable Network Security, said Monday during CyberWeek — a summit presented by Scoop News Group — that an array of firms seeking investment are developing offensive software tools designed for intelligence agencies, along with federal and local police. AJ Vicens explains.


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Top leaders explain why mid-career talent matters

#ShareTheMicInCyber, a group dedicated to boosting diversity in the cyber field, will host its fourth online conversation pairing Black practitioners with allies in the security sector to highlight Black talent. “Individual action is extremely important and can catalyze collective action,” co-founder Camille Stewart said at CyberWeek. “Grassroots movements like #ShareTheMicInCyber can help break down the trust silos that plague our industry and cripple progress.” The lesson seems especially pertinent as government agencies have in recent months had to grapple with the challenge of filling critical cybersecurity jobs. An upcoming #ShareTheMicEvent, scheduled for Oct. 22, will focus on public-private partnership, and include high profile cybersecurity leaders like Rob Joyce, cybersecurity director at the NSA. Tonya Riley breaks it down.


Why the internet is getting more dangerous

Two trends are combining to amplify the threat that cyber poses to the U.S., according to a top Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency official: nation-states expanding their offensive capabilities, and the wider availability of easily-used hacking tools. Brandon Wales, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber wing CISA, said Monday that nations like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea “are investing significantly in tools to target our networks.” Tim Starks adds some context.


Financial firms report major uptick in ransomware payments...

As of June, financial institutions have already reported 635 suspicious ransomware-related activities to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to a report out Friday from the Treasury Department — a 30% increase from all reported activity in 2020. The report also found that the cost of ransomware payments is climbing. The total value of the 2021 reports was $590 million — or a $66.4 million monthly average — compared to $416 million for all of 2020. Tonya looks closer.


...and insurers are concerned, too

Scammers demanded an average payment of $5.3 million from hacking victims through the first six months of 2021, though extortion victims paid a median fee in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a new report from the insurer Allianz. The $5.3 million average represents a 518% increase from the 2020 figure, driven in part by demands to pay up to $50 million after a data breach. The highest demand last year was for $30 million, according to the latest report, which did not identify affected organizations by name. Victims paid an average of $570,000 during the first six months, compared to $312,000 in 2020. Jeff Stone has the latest.


Tweet Of The Day

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Good job on the capital letters, though.


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