Authentic8 Blog Author: Gerd Meissner

Gerd writes, produces, edits, and manages content at Authentic8. Before, he covered information technology and data security as a journalist and book author in the US and in Europe.

2019 in Review: Data Breach Statistics and Trends

What were the most significant data breaches in 2019? Will ransomware still be a threat in 2020? (Spoiler alert: It’s forecast to be worse than ever.) Which industries were attacked most?

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We have put together a shortlist of overview articles, surveys, and posts worth returning to for use as a quick reference to consult in 2020.

2019 Data Breach Hall of Shame

Cnet’s Rae Hodge revisits the biggest data breaches of the past year, and she has two words for readers: “unsecured database.” Two years after we posted this, security researchers report more unintentional leakage than ever in 2019.

According to Risk Based Security, (reported) breaches were up 33% over 2018, with a total of 7.9 billion exposed records. As early as in November, the research firm labeled 2019 the "worst year on record."

Illustration: 2019 in Review: Data Breach Statistics and Trends (Authentic8 Blog)

ABA Tech Report 2019: Cybersecurity

The American Bar Association conducts an annual Legal Technology Survey, which culminates in a report on attorney’s use of

Ideas That Become Obvious In Hindsight

Interview: Authentic8 Co-founder and CEO Scott Petry on Leo Laporte's TWiT.tv

Were you excited when Apple presented the Newton mobile device to the world, a glimpse into a future starring the iPhone? Or perhaps relieved when the email Spam Wars were won by Postini, a Silicon Valley startup later bought by Google, where it became the core of Gmail?

The ideas and concepts that drove both breakthrough innovations initially faced ridicule (in the case of Newton) and skepticism. What they have in common is that today, they are obvious in hindsight.

What they also share is a name: Scott Petry. His career took him from Apple's Newton team to founding and later selling Postini - which solved the email spam problem - to Google and from there to his current role as Co-founder and CEO of Authentic8, which pioneered remote browser isolation in the cloud.

Do we have a theme here? Leo Laporte thinks so. The award-winning tech journalist and founder

What’s the ROI of Threat Hunting?

How can IT security threat hunters measure success? That is one of the core questions raised by the new SANS 2019 Threat Hunting Survey, which was co-sponsored by Authentic8.

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The  answer may lie in a strategy and tool selection that avoids mission and  cost creep, and results in measurable effects - and savings - to prove  it.

That’s our main takeaway from this year’s Threat Hunting Survey. Co-authors Mathias Fuchs and Joshua Lemon capture the different  needs and challenges within organizations that are just starting their cyber threat hunting program, versus those who are honing their skills and programs.

Definitions of Threat Hunting

What is threat hunting? The SANS survey results document a wide variety of methodologies, spending  priorities, tools deployed, training needs - and opinions about what  constitutes effective threat hunting practices.

"Many organizations use an alert-driven approach to threat hunting or use indicators of compromise [IoCs] to guide their hunts," says Mathias Fuchs, a SANS instructor and threat

October Is Malvertising Awareness Month

Large-scale malvertising campaigns have pushed more than a billion malware and spam-laden ads through online advertising networks onto "secure" web browsers. Ad-blocking software fails to stem the tide.

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In case you were wondering - yes, you're right: October's official designation still is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. For bystanders, web publishers, and the victims of malicious ads, though, it turned into unofficial "Malvertising Awareness Month" rather quickly.

That's because news broke that cyber criminals had hit major browsers (Chromium/Chrome, Safari, Opera, Edge) with a broadscale malvertising campaign. Dubbed eGobbler by threat hunters, it generated more than a billion malicious advertising ad impressions over the past months.

The Mechanics: How Does Malvertising Work?

The not-so-secret sauce of malvertising campaigns is that they piggyback on legitimate online advertising networks and popular websites to push malware, such as ransomware exploit kits, onto millions of unsuspecting targets at once.

The malicious code then gets downloaded and executed by the web browser on the victim's computer. Game over.

Showdown: VPN vs. Cloud Browser

In many companies, VPN has become a staple of the traditional IT security stack. Annually, mid-sized organizations (<5,000 employees) spend an average of $60 per user on VPN technology and maintenance. Not much longer though, it seems.

While VPN has been around for more than 20 years, it now looks as if its promises of secure and private web access have worn off - many of them unfulfilled. In the words of Patrick Sullivan, Global Director of Security at Akamai, we are witnessing The death of VPN.

In his article for SC Magazine, Sullivan proclaimed: “It’s time to say goodbye.”

Sullivan’s farewell to VPN sounds timely, and he is not alone. Organizations large and small have found a way to cut their VPN costs or eliminated them altogether. In the same step, they attained a level of secure and private web access that VPN has never been able to deliver. What happened?

How Companies Cut VPN Costs

They