There Are All Kinds of Cyberattackers: CERAWeek Expert

March 14, 2019


While we usually think of cyberattackers as government agents for enemy powers such as North Korea or Iran who may attempt to shut down the US or European electrical grid, there are attackers of all kinds — even the Mafia.

That was the message on Wednesday from Taher Elgamal, Chief Technical Officer of security for Salesforce who said even overseas gangs now have full-fledged “business models” for the use of phishing attacks to break into systems and then hold information for ransom or simply sell off intellectual property or financial data.

Non-state attackers are not likely to attempt to shut down the grid or cut off gas supplies by hacking a pipeline.

“Commodity malware where there’s scraping data, where they can turn that into money, that’s where organized crime comes in,” said Michael Lester, cybersecurity director for Emerson Electric. “I haven’t seen any intel that would make me believe they were after turning off the switch.”