Mandia: Keep ‘Shields Up’ to Survive the Current Escalation of Cyberattacks

RSA CONFERENCE 2022 – San Francisco – Back in the early 2000s when Mandiant was a small consulting firm in Northern Virginia, Kevin Mandia typically worked on just one incident response (IR) case at a time. Today, Mandia’s team at the now IR giant Mandiant – which Google is in the process of acquiring – works on more than a half-dozen cases concurrently.

The volume of attacks is growing, especially so over the past year, according to Mandia. In recent IR cases Mandiant has been investigating, zero-day attacks and pilfered credentials have become the weapon of choice to infiltrate an organization, overtaking phishing.

“A lot of customers are saying, ‘How long do we have to have our Shields Up?’” he said, in reference to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s current slogan for warning organizations to operate at heightened alert amid increasing cyber threat activity. “I think you have to keep [them] up. That’s a lesson we’re learning this year,” Mandia said in an interview with Dark Reading this week.

“The impact of a breach is so much graver now,” he said. Not only are ransomware and extortion getting more brazen and chaos-causing with public data leaks and digital blackmail, but cybercriminals are basically catching up with nation-states when it comes to exploiting expensive zero-day vulnerabilities in software, he said.

“In the early days, zero days were the purview of governments. In 2017, you started to see criminal elements arming a zero day,” he said. Today, it’s close to a 60-40 split,

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