Security

Ukraine cybersecurity conference highlighted new threats a week before the Petya ransomware attack

At GCS 2017 in Kiev, TechRepublic's Dan Patterson spoke with government officials, corporate leaders, and security experts about the growing threat from cyberattacks and Ukraine's position as a test bed for global attacks.

Cyberthreats are an ever-growing concern for both government and the private sector. Many experts argue that a paradigm shift in how we talk about and combat these threats is necessary.

TechRepublic Senior Writer Dan Patterson attended the Global Cybersecurity Summit 2017 (GCS 2017) in Kiev, and spoke with security experts, government representatives, and business executives about this shift in thinking and the major trends in cyberattacks. After the show, I talked to Dan about the growing number of cyberthreats we face and why we must change our thinking about digital security.

Collaboration is critical

Technology is woven into every part of our modern lives and there will always be people who try to exploit that technology. Security can't be a bolt-on product, Dan said. It must be an organic part of every private company, government agency, and non-profit organization.

Education and information sharing between the public and private sector is a key part of changing people's mindset about security and developing effective ways for organizations to address the threat, Dan said. Regular communication is so critical because emerging technologies, such as IoT, AI, and machine learning, are dramatically changing the nature and extent of cyberthreats.

Outages may be coming to a utility near you

During our interview, Dan and I also discussed the ever-growing, global nature of cyberattacks and the decision to hold GCS 2017 in Kiev. Security challenges that initially impact businesses and the government in Ukraine quickly migrate to consumers around the world, Dan said.

Read more about GCS 2017: Ukraine is a test bed for global cyberattacks that will target major infrastructure

Ironically, Dan's point was driven home less than a week after our interview by the GoldenEye/Petya ransomware attacks that were first reported in Ukraine and rapidly spread around the globe. Unfortunately, ransomware attacks (as disruptive and dangerous as they are) are overshadowed by attacks on critical infrastructure. In December 2015, Ukraine suffered a cyberattack on the country's power grid. Security experts believe the malware framework likely used in this attack, called CRASHOVERRIDE, could be used to attack electric grids in other countries.

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About Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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