SolarWinds Adviser Warned of Lax Security Years Before Hack

There will be those who say that this is not the time to look back at mistakes made, or this is not the time to point fingers  while we are still in the midst of understanding the scope of a major attack and what needs to be done, but ….  yes, this piece by Ryan Gallagher is worth reading now.  It begins:

A former security adviser at the IT monitoring and network management company SolarWinds Corp. said he warned management of cybersecurity risks and laid out a plan to improve it that was ultimately ignored.

In a 23-page PowerPoint presentation reviewed by Bloomberg News, Ian Thornton-Trump recommended to company executives in 2017 that SolarWinds appoint a senior director of cybersecurity, and said he told them that “the survival of the company depends on an internal commitment to security.”

Read more on Bloomberg. There were other decisions SolarWinds made — and did not make — that are mentioned in the article and that likely contributed to the current mess. But do note this:

Even if SolarWinds had robust cybersecurity practices, however, it might not have deterred the alleged Russian hackers, who U.S. authorities described as highly skilled, patient and well resourced, demonstrating “complex tradecraft” in their attacks.

“The reality is that sophisticated threat actors, no matter how good the defenses, will eventually succeed,” said Costin Raiu, director of global research and analysis at the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. “If the cost justifies the effort, the breach will happen.”

Update:  See also this great thread on Twitter about how to avoid oversimplifying some of this to “if only they had done this one thing…” type of thinking.

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