Crowdstrike CEO on the evolution of ransomware: ‘It’s become big game hunting’

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Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz said Wednesday the cybersecurity firm has had to combat tougher challenges as adversarial hackers advance from simple online phishing scams to sophisticated ransomware attacks on large enterprises.

“Now the adversaries are taking a page out of nation-state actors,” he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “It’s become big game hunting as opposed to just traditional ransomware.”

Crowdstrike provides cloud-based services including endpoint security, threat intelligence and cyberattack response. The firm is seeing an increasing number of ransomware-as-a-service operations as the subscription economy takes off, Kurtz said in an interview on “Mad Money.”

It’s the kind of attack that crippled the gasoline supply in the eastern part of the United States last month. Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. pipeline, paid roughly $5 million ransom to restore service after DarkSide, believed to be a Russia-based criminal organization, hacked its system and held its systems hostage.

Crowdstrike counts more than 11,000 customers, Kurtz said, a “tiny fraction” of the hundreds of thousands of clients that used legacy, on-site network security systems. More companies have adopted cloud security platforms amid the digital transition.

“There’s a lot of them out there,” he said. “When we think about all the small businesses, all the large enterprises, there isn’t anyone in this world who doesn’t need cybersecurity.”

Last week, Crowdstrike said it brought in $302 million in revenue during the quarter ended April 30, a 70% increase from a year earlier. Its subscription customer count grew by more than 1,500 during the quarter.

Crowdstrike shares slid 0.55% to $213.95 Wednesday and are up about 1% year to date.

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