Cybersecurity , Energy , Food & Agriculture

Nation-State, Ransomware Trends in Critical Infrastructure

Karim Abillama of NetWitness on Overcoming Emerging Threats, Security Challenges
Karim Abillama, sales engineering director, international business, NetWitness

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Poor visibility and the complexity of cloud environments are helping criminals exploit important blind spots in critical infrastructure and business, said Karim Abillama, sales engineering director for international business at NetWitness. Defenders need to evolve their strategies to meet new threats from nation-state groups and criminals, he said.

"We see threat actors thrive in dark environments. They have the luxury of operating for months, living off the land, mapping the entire organization and launching their masterstroke - even pre-exploitation," Abillama said. "A classic example of that is the use of legitimate tools in an environment such as PowerShell in a Windows environment. Unfortunately, despite stacking controls, we still witness a lack of cyber hygiene in many organizations across different industries."

But the challenge isn’t just technology. It's also a lack of people and the "epidemic of the skills shortage" affecting senior roles such as incident responders and threat hunters. "In the critical infrastructure sector, speed of detection, investigation, forensic analysis and the lack of visibility are serious challenges due to the sophistication of adversaries and their motives to disrupt critical infrastructure," Abillama said.

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, Abillama discussed:

  • How the TTPs of nation-state actors and ransomware groups such as LockBit are evolving;
  • How blind spots and cloud complexity are being exploited by threat actors and the impact on businesses;
  • Cybersecurity trends and threats to prepare for in 2024.

Abillama manages teams of cybersecurity professionals and trusted advisors across the EMEA and APJ regions for NetWitness. He brings more than 15 years of experience in the cybersecurity and risk management sectors, helping organizations address cybersecurity challenges in various disciplines with an increased focus on threat detection, network forensics and vulnerability management.

About the Author

Anna Delaney

Anna Delaney

Director, ISMG Productions

An experienced broadcast journalist, Delaney conducts interviews with senior cybersecurity leaders around the world. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of the website for The European Information Security Summit, or TEISS. Earlier, she worked at Levant TV and Resonance FM and served as a researcher at the BBC and ITV in their documentary and factual TV departments.

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