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The 10 Biggest News Stories Of 2021 (So Far)

Rick Whiting

While the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions have continued into 2021, the biggest news stories this year include major cybersecurity attacks, leadership changes at major IT vendors, and accelerating industry trends such as as-a-service and cloud market adoption.

2. The SolarWinds Hack

In early December 2020 cybersecurity company FireEye reported that it had been hacked, apparently in a state-sponsored attack. CEO Kevin Mandia, noting the sophistication of the attackers’ capabilities, presciently said that: “This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years.”

Over the next few weeks investigators would discover that the hack of FireEye’s systems was part of a very extensive and very sophisticated cyberattack that used malware embedded within SolarWinds’ widely used Orion network monitoring software.

The fallout from the attack continued through the end of 2020 and well into this year as its scope became clear. The list of targets grew to include government agencies – including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and the Department of Justice – as well as some 100 private sector companies including Microsoft and other leading IT vendors.

In January a number of cybersecurity vendors disclosed that sophisticated hackers had attacked their internal systems, compromised their certificates or attempted to access their email – with many of the attacks linked to the SolarWinds attack. A Mimecast breach in January was linked to the SolarWinds incident. And there has been a lot of finger-pointing this year between IT vendors over their responses to the incident.

Investigators have accused the Russian intelligence service APT29 of being behind the attack. Russia denies having anything to do with it.

 
Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at rwhiting@thechannelcompany.com.

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