SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Vale 2021, hello 2022: on the brink of full-out cyberwar

By Cordelia
Mon 6 Dec 2021

Article by ThycoticCentrify, chief security scientist & advisory CISO, Joseph Carson.

The past year has seen a mass digital transformation. Most organisations have taken reactive approaches to keep employees productive while working remotely, and the balance between productivity and security is on a very fine line. Employees have also had to make difficult decisions, sometimes including the choice between staying productive and taking risks. 

As organisations move to more strategic decision making and re-evaluate the risks of the difficult and unexpected accelerated transition, cyber threats have increased dramatically, and organisations are more exposed than ever.

So, what did we learn in 2021, and what will 2022 bring?

SPOILER ALERT: I believe we are truly on the brink of a full-out cyberwar!

The workplace has changed forever

We have always been moving towards remote working but not at the current scale. Technology advancements have enabled employees to perform their jobs from any location, but this means a major shift in the security landscape. Organisations have reopened their doors; however, many are struggling to convince employees to return, resulting in many considering the change to a permanent hybrid working environment.

We have now taken the next step in BYOD (bring your own device), moving to BYOO (bring your own office).

Ransomware evolving from threat to as-a-service

Ransomware has become a top threat as cybercriminals look for more lucrative returns. Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated as ransom demands skyrocket. They can now access inexpensive hacking tools and expand their options for how and what they attack.

Ransomware has become so lucrative that developers have emerged to sell or lease their tools and expertise, offering Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) in return for royalty payments. Ransomware could even evolve further into a subscription model where you pay not to be targeted.

In a survey and report on the state of ransomware in 2021, 64% of respondents admitted they were victims of an attack in the last year. Even more troubling is that 83% of those attacked felt compelled to pay the ransom. The silver lining is that 72% have seen cybersecurity budgets increase due to ransomware, and 93% are allocating budgets to fight ransomware specifically.

Governments facing down cybercriminals

Governments have taken a hard line on ransomware, some taking serious steps on targeting cyber criminals. The US government issued an executive order laying out the foundation for the public sector to prioritise cybersecurity and resiliency. It launched the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) on ransomware, while the UK government is investing in a new National Cyber Force (NCF). The Australian government also released its Ransomware Action Plan and is legislating to apply sanctions to malicious cyber actors.

It looks like the next wave of cyberattacks will result in a cyber counter-response!

The brink of cyberwar – the cyber Jedis strike back

I believe we are truly on the brink of full-out cyberwar, as governments decide they can no longer stand by and watch citizens and businesses fall victim to cyberattacks. This means they must and will strike back and could result in full-out cyberwar if the ripple effects spread out of control and more hackers join forces to collaborate and respond.

The result could be the introduction of a cyber treaty in 2022 that could push cybercriminals into fewer safe havens and unite countries to fight back against cybercrime. Global stability has been on edge for several years. However, the increase in cyberattacks and their impact on society means the balance of force is tipping.

Identity is the new perimeter, and access is the new security

For years we have known that the traditional security perimeter is no longer a reality. However, organisations have struggled to define the new perimeter. Cloud computing, hybrid working, endpoints, mobile apps and legacy on-premise systems have further complicated the challenge. Some organisations have attempted to enforce multiple edge perimeters, though this becomes a major challenge to manage and secure.

We must look at all of these touchpoints and determine the unifying factor. For most organisations, this is identity, one of the artefacts they can still control, and this means access has become the new perimeter security control. In 2022, organisations will get back in control by making Identity and Access Security a top priority. Privileged access has become the digital polygraph test to verify identities before enabling authorisation to resources.

Hacking e-sports become mainstream

For years gamers and streamers have been a growing trend on social media, with audiences wanting to know their secret techniques. Popularity continues, with top gamers raking in millions in commissions and sponsorships.

Hacking is now following that same path with the world’s top hackers streaming their skills online, showing off new techniques and methods to bypass security, get the initial foothold, and then elevate privileges. Hacking gamification platforms are also on the rise as teams compete for L33T status at the top of the leaderboard. This trend will continue in 2022, and we will see hacking become an L33T E-Sport that viewers will pay to watch. 

Zero trust becomes the baseline – future-proofing security risks

Zero Trust has topped cybersecurity priorities for the past few years. It’s become an important framework to reduce known security risks and future risks. As organisations start looking into Zero Trust, it becomes clear that it is not a single solution you purchase or a task you check as complete. Zero Trust is a journey and a mindset on how you wish to operate your business securely. You don’t become Zero Trust – you practice a Zero Trust mindset. 

Organisations are looking to reduce the risks from cyberattacks and accept that security must become a living system within the business rather than the old legacy static approach. In 2022, Zero Trust can help organisations establish a baseline for security controls that need to be repeated and force cybercriminals into taking more risks. That results in cybercriminals making more noise, giving cyber defenders a chance to detect attackers early and prevent catastrophic cyberattacks.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Phishing attacks are making a comeback
No matter what approach or tool cybercriminals use to breach a network, they all have one thing in common: access.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Advent One
Advent One partners with US vulnerability management company
Advent One has partnered with New York based vulnerability management company, Vicarius to accentuate cybersecurity detection and response capabilities
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.