‘Tis the Season To Be Merry — and Wary of Cyberattackers

  • Nancy Miller
  • November 25, 2016
  • 0

© Can Stock Photo / websubstanceHappy Black Friday! ‘Tis the season to be wary, tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.

“It’s a wonderful season for hackers,” says Alex Vaystikh, CTO at SecBI, an Israel-based cybersecurity firm which raised $5 million this fall to expand its footprint in the U.S. and Europe.

Every year the cybersecurity challenge grows more complex as hackers match security developers byte for byte in the lucrative world of credit card and identity theft.

It really makes you long for the days of the closed world of the original Blackberry — especially now that BYOD (bring your own device) has become a key feature of corporate culture — even at financial firms, where 50% to 60% of companies approve BYOD, according to technology consultant Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.

It’s big business for cybersecurity startups. “A new security firm is born every second,” notes Gold. And the reasons are clear.

Corporations — financial and nonfinancial — largely have “security information and event management” systems in place to spot attacks. The problem, says SecBI’s Vaystikh, is that companies are overwhelmed with information — perhaps 5 terabytes in logs daily. Sometimes they are lulled into a false sense of security when analysts spot and kill attacks. But, Vaystikh says, the attackers “won’t give up.” They keep trying different weaknesses — success means that they have succeeded in quelling alerts when they are most needed.

“The non-alert is the actual breach,” Vaystikh says. “The analyst assumes everything is okay while the hacker has changed the technique or target.” SecBI says it is the first to use “clustering” to collect the data and run an algorithm to interpret events and evidence and essentially read between the alerts to discover how attackers are trying to beat corporate defenses.

And tra-la-la-la-la — if you think you’ve gotten through the holiday season breach-free, not so fast. Today’s hackers like to infect devices during peak shopping season and then activate their malware a month or two later, Vaystikh warns. The ultimate holiday hangover.

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