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With Ransomware Risks Growing, CISOs Get Tactical

Strategic CIO 360 – by Russ Banham

Like Núñez, Sam Rehman sees his work as a battle of good versus evil. “The bad guys have tactical and strategic goals,” said Rehman, CISO at $2.7 billion software engineering firm EPAM Systems. “The tactical goal is to disrupt a network’s services by making it unavailable to users. Once accomplished, the strategic goal is to extort money through the use of malware.”

Although ransomware is much in the news lately, the first known attack, called the AIDS Trojan, occurred in 1989. What makes the crime more prevalent and successful today is the ease with which cybercriminals collect a ransom. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have made it virtually impossible for law enforcement to track and trace the flow of money across national boundaries. “When the bad guys got paid in the past, that’s when you were able to catch them,” said Rehman. “Cryptocurrency makes it easy to not get caught.”

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