SolarWinds Attack Has Growing, Worsening Impact on Cybersecurity Pros

This perception of increasing severity is atypical of most breaches.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 31, 2021

6 Slides

Few cyber breaches have caused more anxiety among cybersecurity experts than the 2020 SolarWinds attack. In fact, concern has built up throughout the cybersecurity community as new details come to light.

(ISC)2 surveyed more than 300 cybersecurity professionals to find out how they felt when the hack was first reported and after several weeks when more information became available. They also relayed how the breach has impacted their jobs. Furthermore, they recommended changes to organizational security practices and provided lessons learned.

Eighty-six percent said they would have rated the SolarWinds attack “very” or “extremely severe” when they first learned about it. However, that changed roughly six weeks after the incident was reported as more details emerged. The number of respondents who indicated that the breach was “extremely severe” increased from 51% to 55%.


(ISC)2’s Clar Rosso

On a scale from one to five, the perception of the severity of the breach also increased over time, from an average of 4.34 initially up to 4.37.

This perception of increasing severity is atypical of most breaches. Headlines tend to fuel speculation in the immediate aftermath of a public disclosure. That’s then tempered by remediation of the threat. In other words, severity spikes in the short term and decreases as more information becomes available.

To find out more, we spoke with Clar Rosso, (ISC)2’s CEO, about the hack’s ongoing impact on cybersecurity industry experts. Scroll through the slideshow above for what she had to say; plus, more results from the study.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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