Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Ransomware , Video

Ransomware Evolution: Smaller Actors, Bigger Impact

Cisco Talos' Nick Biasini on Why a Defense-in-Depth Approach Is Key
Nick Biasini, head of outreach, Cisco Talos

The ransomware threat landscape has undergone an alarming evolution - transitioning from opportunistic hackers driven by swift financial gains to sophisticated, targeted campaigns that jeopardize individuals, enterprises and essential infrastructure. In this evolving environment, small-time threat actors are entering the ransomware space and targeting small and medium-sized businesses.

See Also: Bank on Seeing More Targeted Attacks on Financial Services

Nick Biasini, head of outreach at Cisco Talos, attributed this trend to the leaking of source code and builders from established ransomware groups. "The small-time groups who aren't able to write ransomware from scratch are able to take the code created by the ransomware authors that came before them, modify it a little bit, and have a lot of success launching attacks with it," he said.

Biasini said organizations must adopt a defense-in-depth approach, bolstering their security controls and focusing on endpoint security to defend against this evolving threat landscape. Educating employees and building proper access controls are vital steps to detect early signs of intrusion, he said.

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at Black Hat USA 2023, Biasini also discussed:

  • Why larger, established ransomware groups are shifting away from deploying ransomware and focusing solely on data exfiltration extortion;
  • How the escalating diversity of ransomware is creating new challenges for cyber defenders;
  • How security teams can enhance their strategies to detect threat actors faster as they navigate between systems.

At Cisco Talos, Biasini leads a team of threat researchers tasked with finding cutting-edge threats. He began his career defending the national airspace and has held a variety of technical roles in both public and private industries.


About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.




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