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Course Conclusion

Malware is complicated and ever-evolving. Malware today is far more complex than 20 years ago. Watch Skylar Simmons explain more.
This is just a final section of the course. This is the course conclusion and a summary of my thoughts and what we talked about so far. I think it’s important to take away that malware’s complicated and it’s ever-evolving. When we go back 20 years, the malware that we’ve seen then is very, very different than the malware we see nowadays. And like we just talked about in the previous section, malware classes are blurred together. Malware patterns are becoming more complex. It’s no longer a single file that does something malicious. It’s a series of events typically chained together to make a much larger attack.
And this stuff is going on constantly by attackers at all skill levels from people off the street that don’t know anything about it, but they stumbled into some sort of forum somewhere. And they’re getting the part of these ransomware-for-hire campaigns. All the way up to nation state and advanced persistent threat of actors that act as full corporations that have a full corporate structure. And they’re dedicated to just the purpose of malicious hacking. We saw that a little bit when we talked about spyware. There’s whole companies that are dedicated to building software. They sell it to government and law enforcement agencies so they can spy on various people.
So I think the media doesn’t do a good job of portraying how serious this is, how often it goes on, and so then you only glimpse its every once in a while. I think as long as you only glimpse it every once in a while, that perpetuates the idea of viruses as just something that someone in a hoodie sitting in the basement creates. They don’t get that it’s the new battlefield, it’s this new full-scale, I’m kind of air quoting here, but it’s just like full-scale war that’s constantly going on between corporations, nations, and private individuals. And that’s another thing that makes it interesting.
Now this is the first time really, or one of the first times in history, that we’ve seen something where you have corporations basically fighting against nations. And this is happening in cyberspace at a pretty constant rate. And something, and my opinion, that these major malware events, and a lot of them we’ve talked about, Stuxnet, Petya, things like this, they’re going to act as a bit of a historical reference points for security. You’ve got to remember that this realm isn’t that old. So in another 20 years, we’re going to remember the days, Stuxnet was the first time that we saw malware jump an air gapped network and perform that cyber to physical fall over that we talked about.
That’s going to be a reference marker. Before that, we had never seen anything like this. And because of that, we had all of these changes. And then the same thing with Petya, or NotPetya– Petya did this thing and the outcome was this thing. So because of that, we changed so much of our stuff. And you can see how the course of security, the industry of security, changes as these major events happen and are detected. So, well, that’s all I got for the course. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it can be a bit rambly at parts. But hopefully, this free-form talk is a little bit more interesting than something very meticulous in terms of reading through a white paper.
So I hope you enjoyed it. And thank you.

Malware is complicated and ever-evolving.

Malware today is far more complex than 20 years ago. Although there are many classes of malware, these are increasingly blurred together in modern attacks. From individual targets to nation-states, from individual hackers to full companies dedicated to malware, the media does not have a full picture and rarely reports well on cyberattacks. These are, however, considered to be the new battlefield between nations, corporations, and private individuals.

Major malware events are a historical reference point for security, as these are often first-time events, which redefine our understanding of malware to date.

Reflect and share: Have a look at your test answers — are there any concepts that you need to revisit from Week 4?

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Cyber Security Foundations: Common Malware Attacks and Defense Strategies

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