Advanced Technology Ventures Hit By Ransomware Attack

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Advanced Technology Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm with more than $1.8 billion in assets under its management, was hit by a ransomware attack in July that saw cybercriminals steal personal information on the company’s private investors, or limited partners (LPs).

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Commentary On The Ransomware Attack On Advanced Technology Ventures

An expert comment from Ilia Kolochenko, Founder of ImmuniWeb, and a member of Europol Data Protection Experts Network:

Venture funds (VC) are low-hanging fruit for smart cybercriminals who aptly exploit this weakest link of the supply chain. Prominent startups and even leading technology companies share a great wealth of highly confidential data with VCs, spanning from their financial performance or per-client spending to intellectual property and trade secrets. Very few VCs can afford a cyber-defense program comparable to the banking industry for example. The human factor also plays a decisive role, while the high turnover of junior analysts and interns exacerbate the risk of successful phishing and social engineering attacks.

"Worse, many funds compile the data received from startups in unprotected archives, aggregating terabytes of confidential documents. Not infrequently this data is shared among external entities or other VCs. Cybercriminals that target unprepared VCs undertake their best efforts to remain in stealth mode and keep control over the infrastructure to continue receiving even more data. Hopefully, this ransomware incident will raise cybersecurity awareness among VCs who will pay more attention and allocate more budgets to their own cybersecurity. Startups should ascertain that VCs have an adequate data protection program prior to sharing any sensitive information with potential investors.”

About Ilia Kolochenko

Ilia Kolochenko is a Swiss application security expert and entrepreneur. He started his career as a penetration tester and has 15 years of experience in security auditing and digital forensics. After serving in Swiss artillery troops in 2007, Ilia founded his first pentesting and cybersecurity consultancy High-Tech Bridge.

In 2014, Frost & Sullivan named the company a leading service provider in the European pentesting market. Later Ilia invented and built the concept of the ImmuniWeb Platform, which combines the strengths of human intelligence with Machine Learning, and is now entirely dedicated to it.

As a Chief Architect at ImmuniWeb, he leads our data scientists, security analysts and software engineers. Ilia holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Webster University, a Master of Legal Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Cybercrime Investigation) from Boston University.

Currently, Ilia is a Doctoral student (Ph.D. in Cybersecurity Leadership) at Capitol Technology University. Ilia Kolochenko is a member of Europol Data Protection Experts Network (EDEN), a Member of GIAC Advisory Board and a Committee Member at Boston University MET CIC (Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity) Center. Ilia is a certified GIAC GLEG professional (Law of Data Security & Investigations) and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US and CIPP/E) by IAPP.

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