The use of local business partners is as old as global commerce itself. European merchants leveraged middle men across the ancient Silk Road, while the first multinational corporations relied on local resources and manpower for their global operations.

Today, requirements set up by foreign governments often mandate business relationships with native firms in order to guarantee the benefits of resource extraction or technology transfer. In other cases, complex business environments all but necessitate local know-how in order to get things done. But as firms move into emerging and frontier markets, they face increasing challenges on their home turf, especially in areas of compliance and reputation management.

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Chris Duvall and Rory McCarthy

RANSOMWARE: THE NEED TO ASSESS AND MITIGATE NOW

2019 continues to be a year filled with ransomware attacks. One of the key themes at DHS’ 2nd Annual National Cybersecurity Summit was the rapid and overwhelming increase in cyber attacks on businesses and local governments. For example, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report indicated 24 percent of all instances of malware involved ransomware. Malwarebytes, an internet security company, reported that the detection of ransomware attacks on businesses in 2019’s Q1 increased 195 percent from 2018’S Q4. According to Johns Hopkins University Professor Avi Ruben, many of the recently reported attacks were specifically focused on local governments and municipalities because “they tend to have lower IT budgets than they should.

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Last week’s Second Annual National Cybersecurity Summit, hosted by the newly established Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), covered a wide variety of cybersecurity-related topics, including privacy policy, supply chain issues, and international partnerships. But one of the most consistently discussed topics during the summit was the security of 5G networks. It should come as no surprise to anyone in the security space that 5G security would be a hot topic at a DHS-hosted summit, especially considering President Trump’s May Executive Order aimed at preventing Chinese telecommunications companies, such as Huawei, from selling their equipment in the United States.

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As several U.S. communities, and the Nation, continue to mourn the loss of innocent lives due to senseless and incomprehensible active shooter incidents—with three of four recent incidents occurring in commercial business environments—it is common for business leaders and their employees to ask “Can this happen in my community or at my office?” The answer is, unfortunately, “Yes.” A natural follow-up question may be “What would we do” and “Are we prepared to respond?” The answers to these questions are not as straight forward and heavily depends on the specific company and what proactive steps, if any, the business has taken to prepare for adverse events.

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Last week, The Chertoff Group hosted the Security Series Event “AI, Threat Intelligence, and The Cyber Arms Race” which convened an exclusive group of thought leaders to discuss critical security issues facing the public and private sectors.

Below are key take-aways and trends to watch from the event. Check out the full panel to hear how experts are leveraging AI solutions to prevent, detect, and respond to adversaries attacking our critical infrastructure and the private sector.

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For years, hackers have abused the registration process to obtain new domain names which they then use to orchestrate cyber intrusions. More recently, security researchers revealed that a previously unknown hacker group carried out a series of attacks on government agencies in 13 countries by redirecting agency computers to hacker-controlled servers through the manipulation of Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure.  News reports from earlier this year have also indicated manipulation of DNS infrastructure in Venezuela (likely by the Maduro government) to redirect users attempting to access an opposition humanitarian aid website to a malicious page.

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When the network of the internet and related systems was first imagined, those who built it had a rose-colored view of humanity. They created a cyber-world without borders and, to a very large degree, without regulation or limitation.

This network sparked the growth of a digital economy that, today, contributes to roughly one-quarter of the growth of the world’s GDP. The internet and digital economy are global in ways that we could have only imagined just a few short years ago. For service providers and most end users, the network knows no boundaries and the practical barriers to making a purchase or providing a service to a customer in another country are minimal.

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In early January, The Chertoff Group released a series of predictions around key cyber threat, policy, and market trends shaping the landscape in 2019. On the tails of the RSA conference, here are our thoughts on how those predictions are faring and highlights of important trends to watch.

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Privacy breaches, large-scale hacks and other security incidents have exposed critical cybersecurity inefficiencies to the public eye in the last few years. With consumers experiencing first-hand consequences of these breaches, including compromised personal data and financial losses, companies and consumers are paying close attention to cybersecurity. As the public becomes more security-conscious, these cyber market trends will dominate 2019.

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2018 saw both an upward trend in data breaches coupled with public concern for federal and political security. To help organizations navigate the uncertainties of a changing regulatory landscape, The Chertoff Group spotlights the trends that will shape cyber policies in the year to come.

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