The war in Ukraine has cyber professionals on edge, waiting to see whether and how Russia might seek a digital advantage over the nations opposing its efforts. Cybercriminals continue to leverage cryptocurrency for ransomware attacks. “Deep fakes” proliferate online. Across the globe, new avenues of exploit continue to arise.
Forcepoint's To The Point Cybersecurity
Over the past few months, a range of experts have weighed in on these and other cyber concerns on our To The Point Cybersecurity podcast. They’ve parsed current events through a cyber lens, addressing a range of issues while highlighting emerging success strategies.
Here's a quick look at some of the key insights from recent episodes:
Rich Itri joined the podcast to walk us through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) latest cyber proposal. As chief innovation officer at ECI, a technology provider to the financial services industry, he sees the SEC raising the bar on cybersecurity across an increasingly digital industry. Financial institutions will need to invest in new technologies and develop new processes in support of great cyber resilience, with calls for greater organizational accountability. In this episode, Itri took a deep dive into emerging reporting requirements, as well as expectations around data management in a hybrid cloud environment. While the SEC proposals raise new challenges, he said, they also present a new opportunity for the financial sector to increase its level of cyber protection.
As president and CEO of Cyber Threat Alliance, a nonprofit working to improve the cybersecurity of the global digital ecosystem, Michael Daniel weighed in on the ever-changing threat landscape. While Russian cyber efforts against Ukraine have underwhelmed most expectations, that conflict still could spill over into cybersecurity incursions against other nations and institutions. Simultaneously, a rising wave of ransomware remains a cause for concern, as cybercrime organizations have become increasingly professionalized. Preparation is key to resilience, and Daniel shared during the episode: Companies need to keep their eye on the ball, shore up their own systems, and keep abreast of efforts to forge international cooperation at a time when cybercriminals are undaunted by geographic boundaries. Business leaders don’t have to be cyber experts themselves, he said, but they do need to engage with qualified professionals to keep their defenses strong.
As James Baker Chair at the University of Texas School of Law, Bobby Chesney joined the podcast to tackle the question about the war in Ukraine that many have been asking: Why hasn’t Russia been more successful in its efforts to cyber-disrupt Ukraine? Is deterrence working, or are the Russians just less capable than expected? While it’s probably a bit of both, it’s clear that the U.S. military’s cyber-defensive efforts are having an impact. Chesney also shed light on the legal nuances around non-state actors signing on to launch their own cyber exploits against Russian targets. There’s likely to be an increasing international effort to define new norms and new parameters around the use of cyber as a weapon.
Dr. Siwei Lyu’s discussion took us on a journey through the disturbing world of “deepfakes” — AI-altered images and videos. Through his research on the mechanics of deepfakes as a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor and founding Co-Director of the Center for Information Integrity (CII) at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Lyu shares insight on the driving forces behind these concerning creations. Lyu shares how digital spoofs are proliferating on social media, with bad actors using them for everything from sexual-revenge exploits to political disinformation. According to Lyu, AI capabilities make deepfakes even more dangerous. That’s why his team is fighting back with new technologies designed to detect deepfakes — an increasingly important defensive capability in a time of rising disinformation.
As acting executive director of Cyber and Forensic Services for the Internal Revenue Service, Jarod Koopman details law enforcement efforts to keep ahead of the criminal-cryptocurrency trend. Increasingly, organized crime is turning to the supposedly-anonymous mechanisms of cryptocurrency to move illicit cash. But it isn’t anonymous: Koopman shares some of the ways in which the IRS can track down participants on the blockchain, even when the bad actors try to shroud their participation in a fog of digital activity. With crypto as the preferred currency in most ransomware exploits, the business community has a vested interest in the IRS experts’ ability to follow the money, and they’re getting better at it every day. Koopman joins us to explain why.
Five years ago, WithSecure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen coined the term “cyber crime unicorns” to describe the most powerful and effective cyber gangs. Now it’s unicorn season, he said: With the U.S. State Department offering a $10 million bounty on ransomware conspirators, criminals likely will turn on one another, resulting in a boon for law enforcement.
Looking ahead, Hypponen foresees rapid development in everything from artificial intelligence to quantum computing to digital currency. Cybersecurity will be the bedrock of all these future developments.
Together, these experts highlight some of today’s most urgent cybersecurity challenges born out of the war with Ukraine. But the To The Point podcast is about much more overall. Hearing insights from some of cybersecurity’s brightest minds will help you stay ahead of the curve, as you seek to evolve your own cyber defenses.
Forcepoint publishes new episodes on Tuesday mornings each week. You can listen to these and other episodes on Forcepoint.com. Or subscribe today wherever you get your podcasts via the links below: