2022 RSAС. Key Takeaways

Every year the RSAC keynote speakers bring their unique insights on the future of cybersecurity. Learn what’s new in 2022 RSAC

The 2022 RSAC took place in San Francisco this June and has become a place where the most acute global events were reinterpreted through the lens of cyber security. In light of intensifying cyber threats, the proliferation of ransomware, and the Russian hybrid war against the civilized world, the leading experts were unanimous regarding the need to strengthen the national cybersecurity posture. Most of the keynote speeches concluded that global events leave their traces on the virtual environment, so IT specialists should adapt to new circumstances and react to the evolving issues. 

Analyzing the keynote speeches at the 2022 RSAC, we prepared the key takeaways for you to consider. 

Cybersecurity as a National Security Imperative 

Сybersecurity has become a national security imperative. Especially when considering incidents and ransomware attacks causing cascading impacts on government, industry, and citizens. 

The RSAC speakers were unanimous regarding the intensified cyber threats coming from Russia, which has waged the biggest and most brutal war of the 21st century in the center of Europe. Along with the military aggression, Russia launched a real cyberwar against Ukraine and other states worldwide. Specifically, it attacked critical infrastructure objects in different countries and tried to strike panic and chaos. The case of Russia has shown how dangerous cyber-attacks are to national stability and intensified talks on strengthening the cybersecurity agenda at the highest level. Read our article Cyberthreats and National Security to learn more about the war’s effect on reconsidering cyber threats. 

Experts also admitted the role of China in national cybersecurity architecture, reminding its increasingly aggressive cyber-attacks against US-based targets. Notably, many talks were around HAFNIUM attacks against Microsoft Exchange servers in March 2021. The attack is believed to have affected over 21,000 organizations worldwide and entailed significant national security risks for each nation-state where the attack was revealed.

Both Russia and China have been claimed as the primary cyber adversaries in the US. Logically, one of the most frequently discussed questions at the conference was how to capitalize on the momentum of the point to stop responding and start preventing incidents before they occur. 

Ransomware Acts as a Real Weapon

Cyber threats to national security often manifest through the proliferation of ransomware. As armies strike critical infrastructure objects, so ransomware does. This year, the security experts were fairly attentive to ransomware threats from nation-state actors. In the background of the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, more and more speakers turned attention to multiple ransomware attacks in the break of 2021 and 2022. During that period, Russian-affiliated ransomware actors targeted government sites worldwide and posted sinister messages, such as “be afraid and wait for the worst.” Intimidating, isn’t it?

Russian affiliated hackers launched multiple Wiper malware campaigns against the Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure organizations. Experts also highlighted how the Conti ransomware gang intimidated any country supporting Ukraine. For instance, the Russian-affiliated gang Killnet has been targeting European countries before the invasion. 

These events demonstrate that the ransomware threats are as real as never before. Thus, the speakers called to intensify actions on resisting and preventing state-affiliated ransomware threats to ensure national stability. 

Supply Chain: a Double-Edged Sword

Technological advancements have enabled the expansion of the supply chains, which has made businesses more efficient and scalable. Yet additional cybersecurity risks arose. And these risks have not gone unnoticed at the RSAC. 

Experts estimated that 22% of companies work with more than 250 third parties. Can you imagine? These are 250 partners that ensure a stable supply chain for your business, 250 entities that may have access to your data and systems, and 250 additional risks simultaneously. Hackers tend to exploit any weakness in third-party systems as a springboard for attacks on more significant targets. Unfortunately, supply chain attacks are constantly evolving, and one of the main problems is that you cannot know where the threat may come from.

The RSAC speakers called to develop an effective supply chain security strategy to cope with the supply chain attacks. When creating the strategy, businesses should understand the spectrum of relationships they have with their third-party vendors. Many vendor connections, such as buying office supplies, are not inherently risky as they do not need access to valuable information. At the same time, such third-party businesses like cloud storage or law firms pose significantly higher risks due to the higher access levels to your assets. 

Government-Industrial Cooperation to Stop Cyber Threats

US law enforcement and government officials need to work with private industry to react and prevent cyber risks – this was an important message sent by RSAC experts. It is an open secret that the vast majority of malicious activity occurs on privately owned networks. Attackers exploit gaps in the ability of private organizations to identify and block malicious activities and then attack federal and state agencies. 

In light of this issue, the US government is looking for ways to use the inherent strengths of American public-private partnerships. RSAC speakers recognized the cooperation among Microsoft, the FBI, and the Department of Justice as an example of a successful government-industry partnership. For instance, this trinity showed significant results in mitigating the risks from the Chinese-affiliated HAFNIUM attackers. Therefore, the government-private partnership efforts are likely to intensify in light of evolving cyber-attacks. 

Zero Trust and Other Buzzwords

Zero Trust (“never trust, always verify”) is truly recognized as one of the biggest and most used buzzwords at the 2022 RSAC. It’s not surprising as the zero-trust approach is really effective in coping with risks. The zero trust approach is being quickly adopted by businesses:  Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released a new study finding that 77% of respondents are increasing their spending on zero trust over the next year. In addition, 80% of executives have zero trust as a priority for their organizations, and 94% are already implementing zero trust. 

The SRA speakers agreed that zero-trust is one of the most effective approaches to secure data and systems, not lastly due to its age-old concepts of “Defense-in-depth” and “Least Privileged Access.” 

Along with zero trust, terms like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) were also on everyone’s ears. The experts claimed that the advanced AI and ML tools provide actionable information, and further automation innovation will help organizations avoid potential vulnerabilities and attacks. 

Thus, the 2022 RSAC covered the most acute topics bothering cybersecurity experts. These included, among others, rising geopolitical threats, intensifying ransomware, and supply chain vulnerabilities. Such things as zero trust, AI, and ML haven’t gone unnoticed as well. The U.S. commercial and governmental institutions should intensify their common efforts on addressing these threats not lastly by applying the new security approaches. Innovations and cooperation are crucial to ensure a stable and safe cyber environment in the light of evolving threats. 

Discover more interesting topics with our blog, and feel free to contact the Planet 9 team if you have any questions. We’ll be happy to assist!

Website: https://planet9security.com

Email:  info@planet9security.com

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