Defenders fight back as 60% of cyber-attacks manipulate time and 51% of cybersecurity professionals are burned out.

In 1963, when The Twilight Zone aired, the idea that we would eventually get to a place where adversaries could manipulate time, data, audio, and video to wreak havoc—as evinced in certain episodes of the series—was of course seen as far-flung science fiction.

But today, it’s become increasingly evident that we are living in a sort of twilight zone, where the goal of modern attackers is to deliver integrity and destructive attacks that distort digital reality.

According to VMware’s 2021 Global Incident Response Threat Report, cybercriminals are now manipulating reality in their bids to launch attacks, with nearly 60% of respondents observing time-stamp manipulation through Chronos attacks.

As a result of the remote-work environment, 32% of respondents observed adversaries are increasingly leveraging business communication platforms (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Google Chat) to move around a given environment and launch sophisticated attacks.

In parallel, defenders are growing tired – 51% of cybersecurity professionals experienced symptoms of extreme stress or burnout, and 65% of respondents say they’ve considered leaving their jobs because of it.

Other key finding include:

  • Nexus between nation-states and e-crime

Among those who encountered ransomware attacks in the past year, 64% witnessed affiliate programs and/or partnerships between ransomware groups — groups harbored by nation-states such as Russia.

  • Cybercrime is industrializing

Ransomware attackers demand about US$300,000 on average. Organizations pay about US$240,000. Nearly 20% of attackers asked for more than US$750,000 in ransom, but only 6% of organizations paid ransoms of this size or more, while the vast majority paid ransoms less than US$500,000.