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Ransomware has easily become one of the most notorious enterprises of the 21st century — gleaning unprecedented success in the past 24 months by targeting vulnerabilities in the cloud and across the software supply chain, attacking industrial processes and targeting unsuspecting victims on holidays and weekends.
What’s worse, as our hyperconnected world breeds new and emerging threat vectors daily, we know that breaches today are inevitable and cyberattacks are the new norm — they’re happening as we speak. Research shows that 76% of organizations have been the victim of a ransomware attack in the past two years, and 82% have paid at least one ransom.
Spending on cybersecurity is higher than ever, yet we’re still hemorrhaging losses to ransomware — and not just financially. Attacks like on Colonial Pipeline and SolarWinds reaffirm the societal and economic implications of ransomware, and we continue to witness one devastating attack after another on U.S. critical infrastructure and other essential civilian sectors (think education and healthcare).
Far too many organizations are still sitting ducks in the eye of a cyber storm, so apathy and lack of action are unacceptable. Business leaders must act proactively to bolster cyber resilience before it’s too late.
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Assume breach, improve resilience, control impact
A decade ago, it was enough for business leaders to focus solely on bolstering prevention at the perimeter defenses (VPNs, firewalls). Now, in the wake of accelerated digital transformation efforts — largely spurred by the pandemic and today’s era of hybrid work — the attack surface has widened significantly, leaving more endpoints, cloud environments and potential exploitation avenues open and available for bad actors.
With organizations now managing a hybrid workforce, sprawling hybrid IT estates, and widening supply chains, it’s no longer a question of if bad actors will defeat perimeter defenses; it’s a question of when. That’s why today’s industry-wide focus on “bolstering resilience” has never been more timely or essential.
One of the resilience frameworks that’s been thrust even further into the cyber spotlight in the past 24 months is zero trust. This cybersecurity approach was first introduced by Forrester over a decade ago. It is a framework predicated on the principles of “assume breach” and “least privilege”.
Under a zero trust approach, organizations are encouraged to restrict access to a select and necessary few (least privilege) and assume that everything will inevitably be breached (assume breach). The duality of the zero trust mindset recognizes the certainty of a breach, while ensuring that organizations are rigorously safeguarding access and mitigating exposure proactively. We like to call this “breach risk reduction.”
With zero trust practices, technologies and policies in place, organizations are better positioned to address cyber incidents quickly (reducing downtime) and mitigate accompanying business and operational impacts. But there are still steps that agencies, organizations and the federal government must take in order to help the private and public sectors maximize resilience.
Zero trust resilience starts with education and alliances
In today’s hypercomplex, dynamic, cloud-first world, cyber resilience won’t work unless we come to a collective agreement on our best path forward.
A great deal of confusion remains within the federal government regarding cybersecurity mandates and best practices. While President Joe Biden mandated a federal move to zero trust architecture in his Executive Order last May (reiterating the significance of the zero trust framework earlier this year), multiple agencies, including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the U.S. Department of Defense have all adopted separate and varying zero trust best practices.
Organizations are increasingly recognizing cybersecurity as a critical imperative, but there’s no unified agreement on what zero trust should look like in action. The lack of a single plan creates confusion and stunts our ability to educate, which ultimately hinders resilience efforts in general. In order to become more durable in cyberspace, we must build consensus on an effective plan — a playbook of sorts — and present a unified front for organizations to follow as they look to enhance foundational resilience efforts with zero trust.
Continued cybersecurity education, at a more general level, is also essential to further ongoing resilience initiatives. In June, President Biden signed into law the “State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021”, which requires the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to provide training, conduct exercises and promote cybersecurity education and awareness across all lower levels of government. Additionally, earlier this year, the “Cybersecurity Grants for Schools Act of 2022” was introduced, allowing CISA to award grants for cybersecurity education and training programs at elementary and secondary education levels.
This is the federal cyber momentum we need. As the hybrid attack surface around us continues to evolve and widen, we need to continue taking steps in the right direction — and we need to move faster. The enemy of a good plan has always been a perfect plan. While we’re looking for perfection, the attacker is always moving. While we’re debating, they’re attacking. We must incrementally get safer and build resilience daily.
The road ahead
Ransomware and cyberattacks aren’t going away. In fact, the threat landscape is changing, with bad actors rebranding and innovating more aggressively than ever. But companies, government institutions and other organizations can catalyze resilience efforts by continuing to educate on cybersecurity best practices, issuing formalized guidance on zero trust and other core resilience frameworks — and ultimately, taking action.
As our world becomes increasingly hyperconnected, resilience initiatives like zero trust are only as strong as the weakest link in our global chain. And as our adversaries continue to move more aggressively in cyberspace, there has never been a better time for all of us to get on the same page and shore up our resilience than right now.
Andrew Rubin is CEO & cofounder of Illumio
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‘She-Hulk’ Release Schedule: When Does Episode 9 Hit Disney Plus?
The current Marvel series dropping weekly episodes on Disney Plus is almost over. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a half-hour scripted comedy about Jennifer Walters (played by the incredible Tatiana Maslany), the Hulk’s equally green cousin.
The first season consists of nine episodes. Six are directed by Kat Coiro and the other three by Anu Valia, with Jessica Gao as head writer. Originally, She-Hulk was set to take over Ms. Marvel’s Wednesday release spot, but the episodes instead arrive each Thursday (probably because Star Wars series Andor took over the Wednesday slot).
Exact She-Hulk episode release dates and times
Here are the exact episode release times.
- Episode 1: Available now.
- Episode 2: Available now.
- Episode 3: Available now.
- Episode 4: Available now.
- Episode 5: Available now.
- Episode 6: Available now.
- Episode 7: Available now.
- Episode 8: Available now.
- Episode 9: Available Thursday, Oct. 13 — 12 a.m. PT (3 a.m. ET/7 a.m. GMT)
The first smashing trailer
After a teaser that well and truly teased us (by not showing She-Hulk’s face), Marvel dropped the first official trailer on May 17. This time we see what She-Hulk will look like in her awesome green glory.
She-Hulk also stars Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong and Tim Roth, who starred as the main antagonist in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Jameela Jamil, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry are also part of the cast.
First Super Mario Bros. Trailer Is Here: You Can Finally Hear Chris Pratt
It’s-a him. Chris Pratt as Mario in the movie. OK, so co-producer Chris Meledandri confirmed back in 2021 that Pratt wasn’t going to use the stereotyped voice of the video game plumber in the upcoming animated Mario film. But on Thursday, Nintendo dropped a highly anticipated teaser trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Pratt revealed, kind of, the voice he did choose.
Honestly, the much-anticipated Pratt-as-Mario voice was kind of a letdown. There’s … maybe a faint bit of Italian accent in the few lines Pratt speaks? Or is he just using his normal voice? Pratt’s Mario mostly just reacts to getting the wind knocked out of him as he heads off on his Mushroom Kingdom adventure.
Sure, there was no way Pratt was going to use the exaggerated, stereotypical voice, but so little of him can actually be heard in the teaser it’s tough to say how his Mario will sound. He doesn’t deliver any of Mario’s famed catchphrases — no “It’s-a me, Mario” or “Wahoo!” Maybe more will be revealed when a longer trailer comes along. Regardless, there’s a better chance to hear some of Jack Black’s Bowser (he’s excellent) and a good look at the vibrant animation.
Fans were underwhelmed by Pratt’s voice, or at least what we got to hear of it.
“Everything in the Mario movie trailer looks and sounds absolutely great…except for Chris Pratt’s voice lol,” one viewer tweeted.
Pratt reminded one viewer of Ratso Rizzo in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy. “It was like four words, but I definitely got Dustin Hoffman ‘I’m WALKIN HEAH!’ vibes.”
And another person summed it up nicely, writing, “It’s not similar to Mario. It’s not similar to Mario’s vibe. It’s not even similar to the live action movie version. Just Chris Pratt sounding a little confused.”
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be Mario,” Pratt says in a video clip preceding the trailer, relating how he played Mario games on a machine at his childhood laundromat. Good to know, but the jury is still out on how that dream will become a reality.
And after the trailer was published, Pratt tweeted about it, writing, “After playing the games for years as a kid (and adult) I’m excited to bring Mario to all of you! Enjoy!”
The trailer did reveal Jack Black as Bowser, and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad. But some fans were disappointed that the clip didn’t include a clip of Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, especially the actor’s infamous laugh.
“My only complaint is that we didn’t get to see Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong voice let alone SOME form of laughter,” one fan wrote.
The Mario movie was set to come out in late 2022 but is now scheduled for release on April 7, 2023.
How marketers are tailoring data-driven creative to engage audiences on CTV
As the end of the year approaches and marketing teams look to finalize their 2023 budgets, many are wondering how to ensure their ads are set up for success in the months ahead, appealing to unique audiences whose media consumption habits continue to evolve.
Advances in programmatic technology and data targeting have made it possible to reach these audiences with precision and at scale, serving ads that showcase the products and services they’re most interested in — be it on their desktop, mobile or CTV devices. But something the industry doesn’t always discuss during the campaign planning process is how creative contributes to campaign goals and directly impacts consumers.
Nielsen found that creative is the top driver of a brand’s in-market success — up to 80% in traditional TV and 89% in digital advertising. And there are ways to ensure that creative speaks not only to viewers’ collective interests but to their nuanced interests as individuals in a non-invasive, privacy-conscious way. Using existing creative — in other words, not reinventing the wheel — marketers are taking steps to boost engagement, enhance brand awareness and achieve personalization on a greater and increasingly sophisticated level.
Making video ads actionable
Actionable creative encourages viewers to engage and interact with brands on a one-to-one level. For marketing teams, QR codes are proving an effective way to elevate this engagement, especially in the advanced TV space. For video ads produced without a QR code, these can be added as an overlay, branded frame around the video or an end card.
In essence, QR codes mirror the strategies of clickable ads in desktop or mobile environments, pushing consumers to take action and moving them through the marketing funnel (i.e., “scan to add to cart”). Not every viewer will scan the code, but even an incremental uptick in engagement is a powerful one. QR codes are an opportunity to place a brand in the palm of a consumer’s hand.
Given the proliferation of smart speakers and voice assistants (estimated to be present in approximately 95 million US households), voice-to-action commands are another way advertisers are motivating viewers to act while watching ads. By suggesting that viewers “Ask Alexa to do X” — via branded frames or end cards, for instance — marketers empower consumers to purchase a product, book a test drive and more.
Keep branding front and center
It’s one thing to serve impressions; it’s another for a brand to make an impression that drives campaign results. And without robust and well-placed branding, it’s near impossible to ensure viewers will remember a brand.
Video ads are increasingly cinematic, which, while entertaining, doesn’t automatically ensure the successful delivery of marketing goals and KPIs. If a viewer isn’t paying full attention to an ad for the full 15 to 30 seconds, they might entirely miss what the brand is, thus limiting brand recognition and recall.
When crafting creative (for CTV or otherwise) — even a more out-of-the-box, entertaining ad — successful marketing teams often place a small logo in the corner of the screen. The effect can somewhat interrupt the cinematic tone of the ad, but it ensures that consumers know which brand is speaking to them.
Developing dynamic creative to fine-tune targeting
Different audiences have different needs and therefore benefit from seeing different versions of a message. Not every brand has the budget to adapt its creative to every audience and screen, but many have found cost-effective ways to do this. One technique is dynamic video creative, in which one video is modified to become more personalized to each individual in a target audience, depending on the campaign strategy.
For example, historically, a local tourism board running a summer road trip campaign promoting travel to various destinations and attractions across a state has created a traditional TV spot to show off these destinations. However, if the tourism board wants to reach viewers on a more intimate — but also more programmatic — level, then dynamic video creative and data can turn the ad creative into thousands of iterations for all screens. In this way, they reach viewers with messages molded to their interests, needs and physical locations. The outcome is that adventure enthusiasts learn about destinations for mountain biking, and families with small children are shown amusement parks within driving distance, for instance.
These practices help marketers drive awareness, engagement and action at little to no added expense, ultimately ensuring a brand speaks to audiences in the most powerful, most convincing way. Creative may be king, but these simple techniques are the kingmakers; coupled with data and technology, they’re more achievable than ever.
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