The speaker, a former army officer, reflects on their experience encountering nation-state cyber attacks early in their career. They describe the evolution of cybersecurity tactics, from traditional forensic methods to modern cloud-based and automated solutions.




Here is the verbatim discussion:


So you know starting off um i was a an army officer in the military and you know we got to see some of the nasty nation-state attacks very early on during that time period and um that really just evolved over time and uh you know the traditional ways that we would go about things you're really it was kind of like men in black where we would you know get on a plane and we would bring the suitcases and we'd get out the empty the forensics tools and we'd rip out the hard drives and we try to dig through logs and figure out what happened um and it was a really heavyweight approach but you know ultimately the frequency of it uh and the overall impact and sophistication of it wasn't anywhere near where it is today um and over the the past you know really 10 years a lot of thingshave really moved to the cloud and there's been a lot of automation a lot of things like machine learning and artificial intelligence and a lot of these great tools that have been brought to the market that allow us to provide better defense against these types of attacks the the downside to that is those same two same tools are actually available to criminals as well and although organizations have gone through their digital transformation yeah over the past 10 years so is the the the hacking community and the criminals at large and and basically what's under up happening is there's a giant ecosystem it's a it's a whole underground economy where you have uh nation state governments working with criminal organizations and vice versa and it's effectively the criminal organization it's become a workforce and you can actually get in there and you can uh you know basically at any given time you can outsource a criminal activity and you can do ransomware as a service or you can go after a supply chain or access as a service all these things are at a click of a button for a few fractions of a bitcoin or some kind of exchange of uh finances so you know with that uh the the number of attacks that have occurred over the over the years has definitely increased exponentially and it's almost every year is like the worst year on record for the number of breaches and really overall the regulations across the world haven't been able to keep up and with that there's been a lot of defense.


Evolution of Cybersecurity Tactics: In the past, cybersecurity investigations resembled scenes from "Men in Black," with teams traveling to physically extract data and analyze it manually. However, with the shift to cloud computing and the advent of tools like machine learning and AI, defense strategies have become more sophisticated.

The Rise of Automation and AI: The proliferation of cloud technology has facilitated automation and the integration of AI and machine learning into cybersecurity defenses. While these advancements enhance security measures, they also empower cybercriminals, who have access to the same tools and technologies.

The Underground Economy of Cybercrime: The speaker highlights the emergence of an underground economy where nation-states collaborate with criminal organizations. This ecosystem enables criminal activities to be outsourced, with services like ransomware-as-a-service and supply chain attacks readily available for a fee.

Escalating Cyber Threats: As organizations undergo digital transformations, cyber threats continue to escalate. The frequency and sophistication of attacks have increased exponentially, making each year seemingly worse than the last in terms of breaches and security incidents.

Regulatory Challenges: Despite the growing threat landscape, global regulations have struggled to keep pace. The speaker notes the inadequacy of current regulatory frameworks in addressing cybersecurity challenges effectively.


The speaker's firsthand experience underscores the dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats. While technological advancements offer improved defense capabilities, they also empower malicious actors. As cybercrime continues to evolve, organizations and regulators must collaborate to develop robust strategies that effectively mitigate risks and protect digital assets.



Brad LaPorte a former army officer with extensive experience in cybersecurity, provides invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of digital threats. With a background in military operations, LaPorte witnessed firsthand the early stages of nation-state cyber attacks, laying the groundwork for his deep understanding of cybersecurity challenges. Through his journey, he has observed the transformation of defense tactics from traditional, labor-intensive methods to modern, cloud-based solutions. LaPorte's expertise offers a unique perspective on the intersection of technology, security, and the underground economy of cybercrime. In this discussion, he shares his experiences and analysis, shedding light on the complexities of cybersecurity in the digital age.


Bikash Barai is credited for several innovations in the domain of Network Security and Anti-Spam Technologies and has multiple patents in USPTO. Fortune recognized Bikash among India’s Top 40 Business Leaders under the age of 40 (Fortune 40-under-40).Bikash is also an active speaker and has spoken at various forums like TiE, RSA Conference USA, TEDx etc.

Earlier he founded iViZ an IDG Ventures-backed company that was later acquired by Cigital and now Synopsys. iViZ was the first company in the world to take Ethical Hacking (or Penetration Testing) to the cloud. 




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