Facts about Ransomware: Black News Channel Interview with CEO John Higginbotham

Hackers hit a major IT software provider, allowing the attack to spread downstream to thousands of small businesses that now face ransom demands to unlock their computer networks. Due to the increase in these kinds of attacks our CEO, John Higginbotham, was invited to speak on the Black News Channel (BNC).

Tashanea Whitlow and Lavern McGee asked John how we can address these persistent attacks and how we need a preventative mentality when it comes to cybersecurity.

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Speaking of our adversaries that pose a threat to our nation’s security. Joining me now from California to discuss just that is cybersecurity expert John Higginbotham. Thank you so much for joining us again, you are the chairman, you’re also the CEO of Blue Ridge Networks. Let’s just jump right in. So you’ve been consulting on cybersecurity solutions for more than two decades. Where do you think we are as a country when it comes to cybersecurity, especially after the last several hacks the country just recently experienced?


Speaker 2: (00:35)

It’s great to see you. Excellent question. Clearly, we’re coming to a greater awareness of the persistent Varner abilities that are in our networks, we started seeing a case of critical infrastructure, attacks, and successful ones, just how exposed we are. The call to action and Secretary Sherman, President Biden has offered clearly are focusing in the right direction, to understand and get control of where these vulnerabilities are, and how we can address them more effectively to protect our critical infrastructure.


Speaker 1: (1:13)

While talking about how we can address them, I mean, how can we address them? They have infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives. We’re talking about gas, we’re talking about food, we’re talking about water, we’re talking about federal agencies, how do we address this? 


Speaker 2 (1:30)

And you know, what you’re discussing, in the case of critical infrastructure, is bringing the physical world into a relationship with the virtual world. We call these operational technologies, you know, factories, traffic lights, transportation, systems, pipelines, all that stuff. That kind of we take for granted and the infrastructure, we’re now creating interoperability and an internet based network. And now it’s a different kind of challenge. So a lot of the techniques that worked well for us in the IT world for a decade or two, it’s challenging to extend into the OT world. So, you know, our firm and others, like us work very hard to identify advanced technologies and solutions that can help address securing this critical infrastructure, which applies not just to large enterprises, but even affects small business even affects us individually.


Speaker 1: (2:29) 

Exactly. Which brings me to my last question. It seemed that gasline hack, that’s when it really brought it home for folks, because prior It was like, Well, why should I care? Why should I care about it, but it started to hit our pockets. So I guess my last question to you is, why should folks be concerned about cyberattacks?


Speaker 2: (2:51)

Well, again, as I said, it’s affecting all of us. You see in the press, the larger attacks that are more public and lots more millions, but there’s literally a million new variants of malware released every day, it’s affecting every small, small business, over half of them that get cyberattacks can’t survive. Which is why we’ve worked hard to create solutions that not only applied to large enterprise but even to small business all the way down to the individual.


Speaker 1: (3:21)

​​Briefly give us some of those solutions, because we do have to wrap briefly give us some of those solutions. Don’t we know how to protect ourselves?


Speaker 2: (3:28)

While you’re welcome to go on our website, our app guard capability can immediately protect advanced cyber for your Windows systems, or lead guard capability can immediately be deployed for small to medium-sized businesses to lock down your important data streams. You know, all data is not equal and isolated, and containing those data streams that are core to your operations is what we work on. So we invite you to take a look at ours and similar companies that are trying to bring these advanced capabilities to bear for all of us.


Speaker 1: (4:01)

Got it. JOHN Higginbotham, thank you so much for joining us, CEO of Blue Ridge Networks. Thank you for sharing your expertise, sir. Thank you, and we’ll be right back after this short break. You’re watching BNC live.

Speaker 1: (00:00)

And joining me now to talk about the growing problem of cyber attacks and ransomware is John Higginbottom. He is the chairman and CEO of Blue Ridge Networks. Good to see you, John people are hearing about this, but how big a problem is it who really is affected by this, what size of business, or are individuals also at risk 


Speaker 2: (00:21)

Nice to see you again, nice to be back. Uh, essentially everyone, this particular attack actually affected, uh, by many estimates, over a thousand, maybe several thousand small businesses just here in the United States. Uh, you know, we’re, we’re rushing to shared services. It doesn’t matter how large a company you are. You’re getting some aspects of shared services, which is opening up the vulnerability frankly, to assault. 


Speaker 1: (00:49)

So how are you and your company able to help people in corporations deal with this? 


Speaker 2: (00:55)

Well, we take an approach that you really gotta get out in front of this and, and isolated and contain those data streams and those processes that are critical to your operations. Uh, it’s going above and beyond, uh, simply monitoring and trying to remediate these attacks. In our case, we developed a number of tools that can isolate network segments that can protect processes on computers and laptops, and servers. So essentially you have, uh, any size enterprise all the way down to the individual and ability to prevent an attack from occurring when a breach to occur before it actually happens. And until we get more of a preventative mentality into this discussion, unfortunately, we’re going to continue to see these types of pervasive wide-scale attacks, uh, essentially on average, uh, that’s the problem. 


Speaker 1: (01:50)

Anything you can do at all. I mean, are there any programs, any applications, anything at all that you can do to prevent this? 


Speaker 2: (01:57)

Of course, uh, feel free to go to our website. Uh, we have a number of tools that particularly can help you a small to medium-sized business with their computers. Uh, our firm and our partners, uh, uh, worked very hard for medium to large enterprises to create, uh, a segmentation strategy that minimizes the probability of having a successful breach. And even if it occurs mitigates the ability of that breach to create widespread havoc. And in case of ransomware, uh, our, our app card capability, uh, frankly so far has never been breached. So, you know, there’s no silver bullet in this business. There’s no guarantees, but if past performance is any indication and effectiveness. We’ve got some tools that I think can help people. 


Speaker 1: (02:48)

Pairing about the connection to Russia, uh, with these attackers. Is there any reason in particular why Russia would want to be targeting Americans, the, you know, small businesses, that of thing, or any knowledge that you have?


Speaker 2: (03:00)

Of that? Well, a very, uh, it’s money. I mean, uh, most of the attacks that we see now are about, uh, ransomware. That’s the ones that are most public it’s essentially extortion. Uh, it’s, it’s purely a profit motive from the standpoint of the criminals. Uh, it does go beyond that to nation states that you know, uh, have no problem harming U S economy, uh, and in many ways, it’s in their interest politically to do so. So, you know, whether it’s criminals just simply trying to make money or nation states try to create a disruption. Uh, we see it across the board.


Speaker 1: (03:42)

John real quick. What is your website in case people want to get more information on this?


Speaker 2: (03:47)

blueridgenetworks.com, pretty simple. 


Speaker 1: (03:56)

All right, absolutely. So once again, people need to be aware and stay on top of this to make sure that they’re protected, but we appreciate you joining us. John Higginbottom chairman and CEO of Blue Ridge Networks. We appreciate you joining us once again, come back and see us.