A new study by Axios Codebook shows that, in the week before the RSA conference, 99% of all cybersecurity firms release at least one research study. (At the remaining 1%, the PR person was out sick.)
Today's newsletter is 1,213 words, a 4.5-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Ransomware attacks are becoming smarter, more common, and more dangerous.
What's happening: In ransomware incidents, attackers take systems down and demand payment (usually in bitcoin) to restore access to them.
Driving the news: In the latest indication that ransomware is moving beyond its best-known targets — state and local governments and healthcare systems — a Department of Homeland Security advisory on Tuesday reported a ransomware attack that forced a natural gas compression facility to shut down two days.
The big picture: A raft of recent ransomware research paints an alarming picture of a threat that's still evolving.
Yes, but: The full scope of ransomware activity is tough to gauge because private industry is under no obligation to report incidents — and many affected companies are unlikely to admit they've been had.
Here's more data on ransomware from Emsisoft, as reported by Axios' Orion Rummler:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios; Photos: Leon Neal/Getty Staff, Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Contributor
The Trump administration's campaign to keep Chinese tech giant Huawei's equipment out of allies' 5G networks keeps bumping up against confusing messages from the president himself.
Driving the news: A pair of presidential tweets Tuesday seemed to undercut the hard line Trump officials have been taking in urging allies like the U.K. and Germany to bar Huawei products from their 5G build-outs.
"The United States cannot, & will not, become such a difficult place to deal with in terms of foreign countries buying our product, including for the always used National Security excuse, that our companies will be forced to leave in order to remain competitive. We want to sell product and goods to China and other countries.”— President Trump on Twitter
Trump's messages came after a debate in his administration over whether to allow the sale of GE engines for a Chinese passenger jet to proceed, per Reuters.
Between the lines: The president's statements reinforced an argument administration critics have long made — that the Trump team doesn't really care about the national security case against Huawei, and is mostly interested in using the company as a bargaining chip in his trade dispute with China.
Meanwhile: Late Wednesday, the president announced he was appointing Richard Grenell, currently ambassador to Germany, to be acting director of national intelligence.
Dell has owned the venerable company RSA Security since it acquired RSA owner EMC in 2016. Now Dell is selling RSA to an investor group led by Symphony Technology Group for $2 billion — roughly what EMC had paid for the company back in 2006.
Flashback: Long before RSA was a conference, it was a company.
RSA Security, the company, dates back to 1982 — the pre-commercial internet era.
Our thought bubble: Very few of today's cybersecurity firms are likely to last the nearly 40 years that RSA has been in business.
Have a great week! Or at least an incident-free one.