Cyber security will move to become software driven

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Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu – Managing Director, India and SAARC, Check Point

Amidst the evolution of sophisticated cyber threat landscape, Check Point has been advocating software driven security for more than two and a half decades

There are broadly six trends prevalent in the IT space combined with cyber security: Ransomware, artificial intelligence (AI), cryptocurrencies, espionage (state sponsored wars), demand for cloud security and Internet of Things (IoT). “Our solutions revolve around each of these trends. Any device that has an IP, software and connected to the internet is hackable. Recently an incident occurred where a vacuum cleaner was hacked. Check Point reported a hack in the SmartThinQ app of the LG’s HomeBot Hoover (a vacuum cleaner) by using the owner’s email ID. The cars can also be breached. They have a software connected to an IP, which can be upgraded. Anything run on a software can be hacked into. Right from the air condition, to music system and even the steering of the car,” informs Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu – Managing Director, India and SAARC, Check Point.

The critical Infrastructure is also vulnerable. A firesale attack can take down the critical infrastructure like the electricity grid, water supply, aviation, transportation, trains etc. Even the Aadhaar data of the citizens can be erased in one stroke.

These threats are making the boards of companies raise issues on the cyber security readiness of the company, its customers etc. While the physical borders of the company can be defined and monitored, it doesn’t apply to the cyber world. There are no boundaries. “Countries are collaborating with each other on improving the cyber security posture, which is a good development. We also see many companies who are ready from a futuristic perspective as well,” says Bakthavatsalu.

Check Point also provides solutions for the mobility space. In the future, everything will be custom fitted onto the mobile – it’s already happening in payments, ticket booking, shopping and many more activities. “The PM is aggressively pushing the JAM trinity. Chandrababu Naidu wants to provide a 250 mbps line for last mile connectivity, but what if the farmer’s phone is compromised and all the money is siphoned off? The mobile will become a critical asset of the individual and thus it, by default, becomes the target of threats. A mobile device can be controlled and hacked by sending a simple SMS, or a WhatsApp message. The attacker can remotely handle the mobile device using his laptop and also keep a watch on the activities of the victim. It’s very easy to perpetrate these attacks – Google search certain information, pay $10 and the attack gear is available,” he points out.

The online ticketing platform can be blocked by bombarding the traffic on the platform. Thus, the cinema goers will not be able to book the tickets. This can sabotage the movie. This can be easily done by outsourcing the job to a hacker, who doesn’t even reside in the country. Ransomware as a service and hacker as a service is provided and easily available online. No longer is there a need to learn coding.

“In such a dreadful scenario, cyber security will move to become software driven. Check Point has been advocating software driven security for more than two and a half decades. We are already in the age of SDN and Software Driven Security. The entire credit for this should go to cloud technology. Considering the advanced threats floating around, cheaper solutions are not the answer. For example, which pacemaker should the patient go for – a $10 or a $10,000? He should always go for the best quality solution. It’s a matter of life and death. Likewise in the cyber security space, unfortunately, the marketing gimmicks make the enterprises go for cheaper solutions. What we have noticed from our surveys is that customers aren’t protecting their mobile devices. They have not bought a solution for their mobiles,” comments Bakthavatsalu.

Privacy and confidentiality is a major right of every citizen and he would not like his information to be leaked. At Check Point, a security demo is given which involves a simple exercise of an app download. If the app is malicious, it immediately takes control of the device after the user accepts the terms and conditions, usually in a hurry. The mobile device that requested the app download can remotely handle all the photos, messages on the user’s mobiles, which downloaded the app. Thereby, the mobile device is compromised.

“Check Point takes a comprehensive view of all the threats and identifies them. The approach is not siloed to specific threats. We provide an end-to-end cyber security framework, which has the next generation firewall, followed by threat prevention, advanced threat prevention, then connect with cloud, mobile and networks. A panel with an unified architecture shows in a single window view the activities happening in the network,” explains Bakthavatsalu.

This provides various recommendations and the action to be taken. The threats are evolving by the day and are getting stealthier and companies should only partner with vendors who are also evolving and matching up to the pace. The product viz, ‘Check Point Infinity’ is the first consolidated security across networks, cloud, and mobile, providing unparalleled threat prevention to keep customers protected against the growing number of cyber-attacks. The platform also has a single management platform. It allows to take fast action to remediate the threat.

“In this backdrop, it is important for the partner community to be up to the speed with the market development and design and work on new offerings. They should come out of the comfort zone of their traditional offerings. It’s also important to say ‘no’ to unviable prices being demanded by the customers. To empower, skill and keep the employees motivated is more important than anything else. I have seen many small companies challenging bigger ones just because the way they have focused on the employees and their thought process. Even though attrition happens, vendors should continue to invest in their employees – it’s a must. If that happens, no vendor can fulfill the gap of partners, unless the vendors want to do direct selling. Check Point’s philosophy has always been to work with the channel partner community,” adds Bakthavatsalu.