16 Minutes #65: Ransomware Attacks on the Rise; Hackers Target IoT

    Welcome to 16 Minutes, the a16z show where we talk about tech trends in the news, what’s hype and what’s real, and the long arc of innovation.

    In today’s episode we’re talking about the latest developments and trends in cybercrime – including the trends of ransomware, and, attacks on physical infrastructure.

    First, we have the recent attack on the meat processing plant JBS, the largest meat processor in the world; just last week it had to temporarily shut down some operations in the U.S., Canada, and Australia due to an attack on its servers, with the hackers demanding payment from the company. 

    These types of “ransomware” attacks are increasing – recently hackers hit the Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined oil pipeline in the U.S., and disrupted fuel distribution on the East Coast. In that attack, hackers demanded and received millions in ransom, though the Justice Department announced on Monday it had recovered much of that ransom, paid in bitcoin. Hackers have also recently hit health care organizations, school systems, and even ferry services.

    In the second segment we’ll briefly talk about the breach of home and enterprise wireless network management technology provider Ubiquiti. Security researcher Brian Krebs reported allegations from a whistleblower, and more recently, lawsuits have been filed. Here we’ll focus on the questions it raises for Internet-of-Things security.  

    Both segments feature a16z operating partner for security (and former Box CSO) Joel de la Garza. Martin Casado, a16z general partner and co-founder of networking company Nicira, joins us for the second segment.


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