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According to an interview conducted with the VMware Head of Cybersecurity Strategy Tom Kellerman, the rise in increasingly aggressive attacks is directly linked to geopolitical tensions with Russia and Belarus.

“Not content to just steal secrets, foreign threat actors targeting the defense industrial base are increasingly becoming more belligerent when encountered by incident response teams, actively engaging cyber defenders and sometimes turning to destructive attacks when pressed.” Explained Kellerman to

“The game has changed. The adversary now doesn’t just want to break into defense contractor x and steal national secrets. The adversary wants to break into defense contractor x and then use their digital transformation to attack government agencies.” He said.

VMware recently released its latest Global Incident Response Threat Report, wherein the company says more than 100 industry respondents polled reported experiencing “integrity and destructive attacks” 51% of the time, while two-thirds of respondents report these types of attacks 81% of the time.

In particular, Kellermann noted a “spike” in the manipulation of timestamps, which VMware calls a “Chronos attack” and has been observing more frequently. He said there’s also been a “surge” in “counter-incident response,” wherein adversaries are “really fighting back and engaging defenders in a bid to stay on systems.”

Kellermann said neither he nor VMware advocate for companies hacking back, but rather urge companies to look at other active defense techniques, such as deception networks and microsharding data.

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