May 8, 2018
Photo - Keith Martin, F-Secure Corporation head of Asia-Pacific and Japan Business
The world is seeing an absolute increase in the number of cybersecurity breaches - and the severity of these breaches means that more and more cybercriminals are getting in on the act.
"It really is becoming a kind of a cottage industry," said Keith Martin, the company's head of its Asia-Pacific and Japan Business. "These cybercriminals are attacking both individuals and corporations with ransomware and other forms of digital attacks that allow them to make money off of the general public."
"We're see more of these coming up because there's just more awareness. I think it's a combination of things; part of that is money, and part of it is the fact that it is so convenient," said Martin.
Martin was speaking in a live interview with Jeff Sandhu for BFM Radio's Tech Talk Podcast, on the topic of Developing a Holistic Cybersecurity Approach. "We're see more of these coming up because there's just more awareness. I think it's a combination of things; part of that is money, and part of it is the fact that it is so convenient."
He added that people nowadays have become fully native speakers of digital: "They've never had anything BUT the Internet. And so, I think people wouldn't want to give up the benefits that we've gotten out of this world. But we also need to be clear that there are dangers, and that we have to keep ourselves safe, and do everything we can to do so."
One step ahead of the criminals
On the right path towards building secure systems, Martin said that the cybersecurity companies like F-Secure have taken the attitude of being in an ongoing arms race with the cybercriminals.
"The better we get at one thing, they try to find another way to exploit a different area - so one of the areas that you've seen, for example, in the last few years, is that end-point protection has gotten much, much better," he said, adding that it becomes harder for the criminals if businesses proper end-point protection.
Martin attributed F-Secure's success to the fact that they actively collaborate with their competitors in addition to competing against them.
"In the 1990s, anti-virus software boxes boasted of protecting you against four viruses; it was really, really that basic. Nowadays, we're talking about 140 million new different types of malware in a year! The fact that we're able to keep up with that, and find ways to stop those types of attacks, with near 100% perfection is gratifying. I mean, nothing is 100% - but we're just about as close as it can get. And we're happy to see everyone bring up their game. So, I think that's been a success story," elaborated Martin.
Even then, the F-Secure head said that current cybercriminals were utilising the same idea of trying to find another way to exploit systems. "This is what we see more recently - particularly with targeted attacks - where you see an increase in fileless attacks, using things that are native to the operating system (such as PowerShell) to infiltrate into a company," he said, adding that gaining such a foothold and using standard Windows tools in order to move throughout the network means that these criminals can potentially live of the land for sometimes months before being discovered - or perhaps never being discovered.
"This is where we're seeing an increase in a need for things like end-point detection and response, which look for those fileless attacks - because if it's not malware viruses, those are files; if it's using a tool that's built into Windows, you can't detect that with your standard anti-virus software."
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