Data is today’s currency as cyberattacks spread

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Ramy Al Damati

RIYADH — According to statistics from the Kaspersky Security Network in 2018, Saudi Arabia saw a substantial increase in cyberattacks with malware attacks increasing by 4% and ransomware attacks increasing by over 378%. In addition, Kaspersky Lab registered an 11% increase in malware infections, reaching an average of 1.5 million attacks per day and 575 million in one year across the Middle East, Turkey & Africa (META) region.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette during Kaspersky participation in 2nd Saudi international exhibition and Conference for Internet of Things on Feb. 13-14, Ramy Al Damati, Enterprise Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab, said: “Kaspersky participation was part of our go to market strategy like the Cyber Summit or IoT in Saudi which shows the interest of the government and vision 2030 and focus on the cyber security demand and space by bringing all the vendors of technologies to the market and open the market.”

Al Damati said it is part of Kaspersky’s plan to expand in the region and especially in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has a lot of potentials as we have seen from previous years. The number of attacks and incidents happening is increasing dramatically from last two years and seen even in 2019. “The new technologies like block chain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, integration with the existing infrastructure is something we see as a potential and we need to focus more on a market with such preferences.”

He further said “our contribution and expansion in Saudi Arabia, would be more hiring Saudi talent especially, they are as capable as compared to other regions. And we have some initial advanced stages of discussion with the government to build education awareness, some laboratories for forensics and incident response to make complete considerations for the country or multiple governments on the national level especially with national entities and cyber security authorities. We did great last year but this year definitely it is under our radar to expand knowledge, the team, technology and even size of the business in Saudi Arabia.”

On collaborations with universities, Al Damati said: “Mainly Kaspersky has a complete education growth for the universities. We reflect our global knowledge to the local resources through discussing with communicating with the university, checking existing curricula, advise them with advanced curricula, and train the trainer for their purpose. Thus, we increase their knowledge and the capabilities of the existing team to deliver such training. Also, other activities such as cyber days for awareness, cyber cup for some competitions where we select niche ideas about a project, support it and graduates as well.

Definitely people will be certified and will be graduated with some certification from Kaspersky. Also we will be focusing more on the awareness for the community not only education of people because cyber domain is not only touching any advance enterprise it will touch our kids, families and normal people, so we have multiple engagements.

On how does Kaspersky deal with fraud, Al Damati said fraud is the main topic for people dealing with digital transformation, today you do anything with digital transformations even games where you don›t monitor the back end of the game or the application or transaction if it is secure or not. Our fraud divisions work with the hosting company which is like the bank who has the solution. We protect the end-user indirect, by installing our solution on their platform, to protect all the entities.

To Al Damati, the currency of today is data so if you want to have money, you can steal data and you can sell it. Now a lot of entities centralize their data in one location or multiple locations and the copy of this data is under compromise, they are targeted by these attackers to steal the data and publish it. As we saw in Facebook, Google and all of these big entities, what about the smaller entities! Now to protect this part, we intercept with the infrastructure itself to protect it and we collect even intelligence, so Kaspersky today has more than 400 million impacts across the globe. We collect intelligence about the machine behavior, machine learning - and if there is an attack running in your machine we understand the behavior of this machine so we can connect this intelligence and send it to some other location. We can protect the data in advance if we take proactive action. We will definitely be able to understand it and we can stop suspicious behavior. We also have a team who can engage with some incidents like Incident Response

In case an attack takes place, Kaspersky has multiple approaches, the first is to increase the awareness, and how people can avoid and stop an attack. Another is to make a clear relation with multiple government entities to solve the critical information attacks. So this type of like collaboration, integration and awareness will definitely help to decrease attacks. From our side we don’t want to see any more major attacks. — SG


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