Critical U.S. infrastructure will be hit by a major cyberattack in the next two years, according to a survey of experts who attended the annual Black Hat security conference in the last two years.

Published just a few weeks before this year’s Black Hat event in Las Vegas, the survey, titled “Portrait of an Imminent Cyberthreat,” showed that only 26 percent of respondents believe U.S. infrastructure will be adequately protected by government and defense forces.

The nearly 600 security experts polled also reported concerns about the vulnerability of their own organizations. Two-thirds said they expect to be hit by a data breach in the next year, and 70 percent reported that staffing limitations will make it difficult to respond to a security incident. Meanwhile, 60 percent said their budgets aren’t keeping pace with the increasing sophistication of attacks.

US Infrastructure Vulnerable to Classic Scams

While it’s impossible to predict precisely how threat actors might strike U.S. infrastructure, 50 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were most concerned about social engineering and phishing schemes that dupe users into handing over access credentials. While the recent WannaCry and NotPetya attacks have made huge headlines recently, Black Hat attendees had already pegged ransomware as the fastest-rising threat.

Of course, there are plenty of established products and services to fend off cyberattacks, but the survey participants recognized the need for greater customization in their threat mitigation strategies. Sixty-one percent said corporations should fend off fraudsters with their own specialized online defenses. That’s probably because 45 percent reported that attacks are becoming more targeted at specific firms and pieces of U.S. infrastructure than ever before.

Conventional Wisdom Confirmed

Some of the report’s findings confirmed conventional wisdom about enterprise security. For example, 38 percent cited their own employees as a major weak spot in protecting information, while 39 percent suggested that insider threats may be more dangerous than third parties targeting U.S. infrastructure.

Perhaps the biggest worry, according to SDxCentral, is the gap between IT and management when it comes to the potential severity of cyberattacks. While compliance issues may remain top of mind for boards and CEOs, for instance, technology professionals want them to pay greater attention to data breaches.

You can be sure that topic, as well as other data points included in this survey, will generate at lot of buzz at the upcoming Black Hat conference.

More from

Bridging the 3.4 Million Workforce Gap in Cybersecurity

As new cybersecurity threats continue to loom, the industry is running short of workers to face them. The 2022 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study identified a 3.4 million worldwide cybersecurity worker gap; the total existing workforce is estimated at 4.7 million. Yet despite adding workers this past year, that gap continued to widen.Nearly 12,000 participants in that study felt that additional staff would have a hugely positive impact on their ability to perform their duties. More hires would boost proper risk…

The Evolution of Antivirus Software to Face Modern Threats

Over the years, endpoint security has evolved from primitive antivirus software to more sophisticated next-generation platforms employing advanced technology and better endpoint detection and response.  Because of the increased threat that modern cyberattacks pose, experts are exploring more elegant ways of keeping data safe from threats.Signature-Based Antivirus SoftwareSignature-based detection is the use of footprints to identify malware. All programs, applications, software and files have a digital footprint. Buried within their code, these digital footprints or signatures are unique to the respective…

How Do Threat Hunters Keep Organizations Safe?

Neil Wyler started his job amid an ongoing cyberattack. As a threat hunter, he helped his client discover that millions of records had been stolen over four months. Even though his client used sophisticated tools, its threat-hunting technology did not detect the attack because the transactions looked normal. But with Wyler’s expertise, he was able to realize that data was leaving the environment as well as entering the system. His efforts saved the company from suffering even more damage and…

The White House on Quantum Encryption and IoT Labels

A recent White House Fact Sheet outlined the current and future U.S. cybersecurity priorities. While most of the topics covered were in line with expectations, others drew more attention. The emphasis on critical infrastructure protection is clearly a top national priority. However, the plan is to create a labeling system for IoT devices, identifying the ones with the highest cybersecurity standards. Few expected that news. The topic of quantum-resistant encryption reveals that such concerns may become a reality sooner than…