The Kremlin Clock Tower and onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, on a late-fall day.
Photo: Michael Parulava on Unsplash

From Russia, with malware

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: Why one Russian cybersecurity expert thinks the worst cyberattacks may be yet to come, Samsung reaches a key chip manufacturing milestone and this week in enterprise tech moves.

The cyberwar has been rescheduled

Predicting what Russia is going to do next, and when, is usually an exercise in foolishness. Unless you’re Dmitri Alperovitch.

The Russian-born cybersecurity and geopolitics expert told me he’s not too worried about Vladimir Putin launching major cyberattacks against the West prior to the U.S. election in November.

  • But that could change by early to mid-winter, depending on how things go with Ukraine and sanctions, he says.
  • At that point, Putin "may very well resort back to cyber to increase pressure on the West," Alperovitch told me. (The CrowdStrike co-founder and former CTO has a good track record for this sort of thing; in December he predicted Russia would invade Ukraine two months before it happened.)
  • Putin has no illusions that cyberattacks alone would lead to sanctions relief. But they could be a key part of a larger effort to further drive inflation and economic instability in the West, according to Alperovitch. In that case, “he may decide that it's a tool worth pursuing."

Alperovitch is just one of many experts I spoke with who think the threat of intensified Russian cyberattacks against the U.S. and Western Europe is not gone, even though increased attacks didn't follow the invasion, as many expected.

  • "I fear this is a 'calm before the storm' situation," said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at cybersecurity giant Sophos.
  • Once the Kremlin starts running out of good options, the Russians are likely to “start using some of their capabilities they've kept in reserve to strike back at the U.S. and say, 'Hey, wipe off the sanctions,'" said former CISA Director Chris Krebs. That could include “a highly visible, likely destructive attack."
  • A “massive wave” of Russian cyberattacks is probable toward the end of the year, including critical infrastructure attacks and increased ransomware, said Dave DeWalt, the former CEO of FireEye and McAfee. "For every dollar of sanctions, they're going to try to get a dollar back — that's what I think they're going to do."

Currently though, threat trackers are not seeing reconnaissance or other cyber activity that suggests an “immediate threat” from Russia against the West, said Adam Meyers, senior vice president of Intelligence at CrowdStrike. But "that could change on a moment's notice."

Read the full story here.

— Kyle Alspach (email | twitter)


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Samsung at the gates

It’s no secret that chip manufacturing is getting much harder as modern features have reached a scale measured in atoms. While Samsung is widely known for consumer gadgets, the company also operates a big contract manufacturing business, or foundry. Within that unit, Samsung manufactures memory — which is the larger business — and processors for mobile phones, among other things.

For roughly five years Samsung has been saying it will be the first of the largest contract chipmakers to roll out a promising new transistor architecture called gate all around. Late Wednesday it said it began initial production of chips with these new gates — a first for a company that really likes to achieve firsts.

Gate technology gets an overhaul roughly every decade, and is one of those important moments in chipmaking: because new gates offer a big boost to performance with less power, it has the potential of reshuffling the pecking order. For Samsung, this appears to be a question of producing enough good chips off every silicon wafer it prints them on.

Intel has promised it will be next with the new gates — but not for at least two years. TSMC will be the last big foundry to shift in 2025.

— Max A. Cherney (email | twitter)

Enterprise moves

Over the past week Google’s Workspace leader put in his resignation, the head of commerce and payments left for a new gig, a veteran Microsoft employee announced his departure and more.

Javier Soltero is leaving his role as head of Google Workspace. Soltero’s next role has not been announced, but VP of Engineering Aparna Pappu will take over as GM for Workspace.

Jeffrey Snover is leaving his role as CTO of Microsoft's modern workforce transformation group. Snover has been with the company for two decades and has not announced his next role yet.

Simon Segars joined investment firm Permira as senior adviser. Segars was previously at ARM, where he served as CEO until earlier this year.

Nick Fox is Google's new head of commerce and payments. Fox previously led ads, search and product management for the company’s communication products. Fox replaces Bill Ready who was appointed CEO at Pinterest.

Bridget Shea is the new chief customer officer at Dataiku. Shea was previously chief customer officer at Mural and SVP of Global Customer Success at Datorama, which was later acquired by Salesforce.

Jim Nicholas joined IT managed services provider FNTS as VP of Sales. Nicholas was previously IBM’s cloud sales leader for the channel ecosystem.

— Aisha Counts (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Atlassian co-CEO Scott Farquhar performed CPR in a Las Vegas nightclub while in town for its Team ‘22 conference in April, saving a man’s life according to CNBC.

Xerox CEO John Visentin, who pushed the iconic company into the enterprise IT services business, died at the age of 59.

Cloudera announced that it will support the open-source Apache Iceberg data lake project, becoming the latest vendor to line up behind the project.


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Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

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