Former FBI Counter-Intelligence Superstar Eric O’Neill to Dive Deep on Why Ransomware Continues to Be the #1 Cybercrime

Ransomware Continues to Top Cybercrime

You don’t have to be a tech professional to be aware of how pervasive and destructive criminal cyberattacks on consumers, businesses and public institutions have become these days. The first among equals in the 2019 malware hall of infamy is ransomware. Today ransomware is riding a wave of high-profile mayhem that first roared into the public’s consciousness two years ago with the WannaCry attack, which crippled hundreds of thousands of computers globally. Even 60 Minutes ran a recent segment on another series of ransomware attacks that torpedoed local government services in Atlanta, Newark and Sarasota, and halted operations at Cleveland’s airport and San Francisco’s transit authority.

Against this backdrop, the latest annual edition of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) just hit the streets. Along with command-and-control attacks, it reports that ransomware incursions accounted for 75% of the malware-driven security incidents of the past 12 months. The 2019 DBIR also notes the particularly harmful effects of ransomware attacks on industries that cybercriminals favor most as targets: Healthcare was notable among them, accounting for over 70% of all healthcare industry malware incidents in the past year. That’s because compromised IT servers can quickly become a matter of life and death. In the interest of restoring critical patient services, hospitals tend to pay up quickly to get their data back from cyber extortionists.

The aggressive and lucrative use of ransomware as a favored cybercrime weapon has long been the focus of Eric O’Neill, the renowned former FBI counter-intelligence operative and author of the recently-published "Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyberspy." His book is a memoir of his role in unmasking and imprisoning notorious FBI mole Robert Hannsen. The same story is also told in the 2007 Hollywood docudrama “Breach” (pictured above), in which O’Neill is portrayed by Ryan Phillippe.

Now a sought-after consultant on cybersecurity issues, O’Neill has led Acronis webinars on the subject of ransomware and how to fight it. He is also on the marquee as a featured speaker at the first annual Acronis Global Cyber Summit, which will take place at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on October 13-16, 2019. At the event, O’Neill will use true stories informed by his decades of work as an FBI undercover operative and independent security consultant to analyze recent high-profile malware attacks and examine why ransomware continues to be the number-one cybercrime.

Attendees will learn about the need for diligence against ransomware attacks, the threat of phishing and email attacks, how spies recruit new operatives, the dangers of economic espionage, and why it is important to hunt cyber threats before they hunt you. There’s also a darker dimension to O’Neill’s analysis: ransomware is currently being leveraged by spy agencies and terrorist organizations to disrupt and destroy information at private businesses and public institutions alike.

Of course, O’Neill won’t be the only renowned speaker on the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2019 agenda – it will also feature luminaries like Robert Herjavec, cybersecurity entrepreneur and co-host of Shark Tank. The three-day event will have a full roster of cybersecurity heavyweights diving deep into a broad range of urgent cyber protection issues, customized for several distinct audiences: enterprises, independent software developers, service providers, and tech resellers. (Pro Tip: Register by August 31, 2019 to qualify for an early-bird discount.)

To quote O’Neill, “There are no hackers, there are only spies. Hacking is the necessary evolution of espionage.” Learn what he means and how you can protect your organization against ransomware and other pressing malware by hearing from cyberwarfare veterans like O’Neill, Herjavec and others. If you’re a service provider, VAR or ISV, you will also discover ways to expand your business by offering customers cyber protection services and software to fight ransomware, cryptojacking and other cyberattacks. Make your plans to attend the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2019 today.