Home Podcasts Videos Guest Posts Q&A My Take Bio Contact

Best Practices


Author Q&A: Former privacy officer urges leaders to prioritize security as part of cloud migration

By Byron V. Acohido

Cyber threats have steadily intensified each year since I began writing about privacy and cybersecurity for USA TODAY in 2004.

Related: What China’s spy balloons portend

A stark reminder of this relentless malaise: the global cyber security market is on a steady path to swell to $376 billion by 2029 up from $ 156 billion in 2022, according to Fortune Business Insights.

Collectively, enterprises spend a king’s ransom many times over on cyber defense. Yet all too many companies and individual employees till lack a full appreciation of the significant risks they, and their organizations, face online. And as a result, many still do not practice essential cyber hygiene.

Perhaps someday in the not-too-distant future that may change. Our hope lies in leveraging machine learning and automation to create very smart and accurate security platforms that can impose resilient protection.

Until we get there – and it may be a decade away — the onus will remain squarely on each organization — and especially on individual employees —  to do the wise thing.

A good start would be to read Mobilizing the C-Suite: Waging War Against Cyberattacks, written by Frank Riccardi, a former privacy and compliance officer from the healthcare sector.

RSAC Fireside Chat: Uptycs emulates Google, Akamai to protect cloud-native apps and endpoints

By Byron V. Acohido

The inadequacy of siloed security solutions is well-documented.

Related: Taking a security-first path

The good news is that next-gen security platforms designed to unify on-prem and cloud threat detection and remediation are, indeed, coalescing.

At RSA Conference 2023 I visited with Elias Terman, CMO, and Sudarsan Kannan, Director of Product Management, from Uptycs, a Walthan, Mass.-based supplier of “unified CNAPP and EDR ” services.

They described how Uptycs is borrowing proven methodologies from Google, Akamai, SAP and Salesforce to harness normalized telemetry that enables Uptycs to correlate threat activity — wherever it is unfolding. Please give a listen to the accompanying podcast

RSAC Fireside Chat: Counteracting Putin’s weaponizing of ransomware — with containment

By Byron V. Acohido

The ransomware plague endures — and has arisen as a potent weapon in geopolitical conflicts.

Related: The Golden Age of cyber espionage

Cyber extortion remains a material threat to organizations of all sizes across all industries. Ransomware purveyors have demonstrated their capability to endlessly take advantage of a vastly expanded network attack surface – one that will only continue to expand as the shift to massively interconnected digital services accelerates.

Meanwhile, Russia has turned to weaponing ransomware in its attempt to conquer Ukraine, redoubling this threat. Now that RSA Conference 2023 has wrapped, these things seem clear: ransomware is here to stay; it is not, at this moment, being adequately mitigated; and a new approach is needed to slow, and effectively put a stop to, ransomware.

I had the chance to visit with Steve Hahn, EVP Americas, at Bullwall, which is in the vanguard of security vendors advancing ways to instantly contain threat actors who manage to slip inside an organization’s network.

Guest expert: Steve Hahn, EVP Americas, Bullwall

Bullwall has a bird’s eye view of Russia’s ongoing deployment of ransomware attacks against Ukraine, and its allies, especially the U.S.

Weaponized ransomware doubly benefits Russia: it’s lucrative, generating  billions in revenue and thus adding to Putin’s war chest; and at the same time it also weakens a wide breadth of infrastructure of Putin’s adversaries across Europe and North America.

Containment is a logical tactic that could make a big difference in stopping ransomware and other types of attacks. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we cover.)



RSAC Fireside Chat: How a well-placed ‘NGWAF’ can staunch the flow of web, mobile app attacks

By Byron V. Acohido

Attack surface expansion translates into innumerable wide-open vectors of potential unauthorized access into company networks.

Related: The role of legacy security tools

Yet the heaviest volume of routine, daily cyber attacks continue to target a very familiar vector: web and mobile apps.

At RSA Conference 2023, I had the chance to meet with Paul Nicholson, senior director of product marketing and analyst relations at A10 Networks.

A10 has a birds eye view of the flow of maliciousness directed at web and mobile apps — via deployments of its Thunder Application Delivery Controller (ADC.)

We discussed why filtering web and mobile app traffic remains as critical as ever, even as cloud migration intensifies; for a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Companies today face a huge challenge, Nicholson says. They must make ongoing assessments about IT infrastructure increasingly spread far and wide across on-premises and public cloud computing resources.

Guest expert: Paul Nicholson, senior director, product marketing & analyst relations, A10 Networks

The logical place to check first for incoming known-bad traffic remains at the gateways where application traffic arrives.

At RSAC 2023, A10 announced the addition of a next-generation web application firewall (NGWAF,) powered by Fastly, to its core Thunder ADC service. This upgrade, he told me, is expressly aimed at helping companies optimize secure performance of their hybrid cloud environments.

This is another encouraging example of stronger together advancement. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we co


MY TAKE: Putin’s weaponizing of ransomware shows why network security needs an overhaul

By Byron V. Acohido

At 10 am PDT, next Wednesday, April 19th,  I’ll have the privilege of appearing as a special guest panelist and spotlight speaker on Virtual Guardian’s monthly Behind the Shield cybersecurity podcast.

Related: The Golden Age of cyber spying is upon us

You can RSVP – and be part of the live audience – by signing up here. The moderator, Marco Estrela, does a terrific job highlighting current cybersecurity topics ripped from the headlines. For my part, I’m going to ‘follow the money’ with respect to the strategic use of weaponized ransomware on  the part of Vladimir Putin.

I recently had the chance to drill down on this topic as part of a Last Watchdog Fireside Chat podcast I’m currently producing. Stay tuned for my eye-opening discussion with BullWall, a Danish startup that’s in the midst of helping companies effectively mitigate cyber extortion.

Meanwhile, in the April 19th episode of Behind the Shield,  I’m going to attempt to summarize the big theme I’m hearing from BullWall and numerous other security vendors as I get ready to make the trek to San Francisco’s Moscone Center to cover RSA Conference 2023 in person – after two years of covering it remotely.

And that theme is . . . the unfolding reconstitution of network defense. There’s a common thread running through all of the advanced tools, new security frameworks and innovative security services that are rapidly gaining traction.

At some level, they all drive us in the direction of creating a new tier of overlapping, interoperable, highly automated security platforms.  The end game quite clearly must be to bake security deep inside the highly interconnected systems that will give us climate-rejuvenating vehicles and buildings and spectacular medical breakthroughs.

I’ll get this discussion going at Virtual Guardian’s Behind the Shield podcast next week. And I’ll try to ramp it up in my upcoming series of Last Watchdog RSA Insights Fireside Chat podcasts … more

GUEST ESSAY: The role advanced ‘VM’ is ideally suited to play in combating modern cyber attacks

By Chandrashekhar Basavanna

Modern cyber attacks are ingenious — and traditional vulnerability management, or VM, simply is no longer very effective.

Related: Taking a risk-assessment approach to VM

Unlike a typical cyber attack that exploits a software vulnerability, recent cyber attacks exploit other security risks, such as misconfigurations, security deviations, and posture anomalies. But VM vendors tend to focus more on software vulnerabilities and leave out everything else.

SecPod’s research shows some 44 percent of the total vulnerabilities in a typical IT infrastructure don’t have a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure (CVE) designation.

The consequences of a cyber attack can be devastating; from a rapid drop in brand reputation to loss of business and sensitive data. Cyber attacks can also invite lawsuits and can even be fatal.

In addition to real-time protection, effective VM can also help with compliance at a time when data security rules are increasing in regulatory policies like NIST, PCI, HIPAA and GDPR.

SHARED INTEL: The expected impacts of Pres. Biden’s imminent National Cybersecurity Strategy

By Shannon Flynn

The United States will soon get some long-awaited cybersecurity updates.

Related: Spies use Tik Tok, balloons

That’s because the Biden administration will issue the National Cyber Strategy within days. Despite lacking an official published document, some industry professionals have already seen a draft copy of the strategic plan and weighed in with their thoughts. Here’s a look at some broad themes to expect and how they will impact businesses:

•New vendor responsibilities.  Increased federal regulation puts more responsibility on hardware and software vendors compared to the customers who ultimately use their products.

Until now, people have primarily relied on market forces rather than regulatory authority. However, that approach often leads to bug-filled software because makers prioritize new product releases over ensuring they’re sufficiently secure.

These changes mean business representatives may see more marketing materials angled toward what hardware and software producers do to align with the new regulations.