In the US, the SolarWinds crisis and the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline helped concentrate minds about defeating criminal hackers.

The advanced cyberattack was attributed to DarkSide, a ransomware gang which forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down its entire 5,500-mile pipeline system, that supplies almost half the fuel used along America’s East Coast.

DarkSide used a “double extortion” attack which provides cyber attackers with added leverage, generally leading to a higher success rate and typically larger ransoms.

When entering a system, criminals steal sensitive data before launching ransomware that encodes the files making it impossible for organisations such as hospitals, universities, and cities to do their daily work. If this tactic is not intimidating enough, they threaten to reveal confidential information, sometimes posting a snippet as leverage.

The Washington DC police department refused to pay a $4m ransom demanded by a gang called Babuk who retaliated by publishing confidential intelligence briefings, the names of criminal suspects, witnesses, and personnel files online.

JBS Foods the world’s largest meat producer, has gone offline, suffering a ransomware attack that could have far-reaching ramifications on food supply chains.

On 12th May 2021, Joe Biden signed a “Presidential Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity”. It said, “The Federal Government must bring to bear the full scope of its authorities and resources to protect and secure its computer systems, whether they are cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid.”

The sheer scale of investment needed to implement the cyber-security capabilities necessary to protect both companies and infrastructure effectively is vast.

Those companies at the forefront of modernising the cybersecurity industry through digital transformation, could be poised to be the primary beneficiaries.

One company, Zscaler saw its stock price jump 15% after the cloud-based security platform announced revenue, earnings and billings growth significantly higher than expectations.