Defending the next security frontier

A growing reliance on cloud services has left organisations open to attacks, and Symantec believes that this is the next frontier for cyber-crime

Tags: Symantec Corporation
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Defending the next security frontier Hussam Sidani, regional manager for Gulf, Symantec
By  David Ndichu Published  July 24, 2017

In view of recent cybersecurity threats such as WannaCry and Shamoon, what precautionary steps do regional organisations need to take to defend themselves?

According to Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), UAE ranked as the second most targeted country in Middle East and Africa, and the 26th globally for ransomware, which represented about 0.5 percent of all global detections.

The report also stated that the use of email as an infection point also rose, becoming a weapon of choice for cyber criminals and a dangerous threat to users. Symantec found one in 136 emails in the UAE contained a malicious link or attachment. Large enterprises (more than 2,501 employees) in the country received the most emails containing malware and phishing. Additionally, the services industry was the most affected by malicious emails in the UAE (one in 53 emails), while 57 percent of all emails received by organisations were identified as spam, higher than the global average.

This just reiterates the need for Middle East organisations to understand that a cyber-attack is inevitable, and it’s just a question of when, and not how or why. Adopting a multi-layered approach to security minimizes the chance of infection.

What solutions, products and tools can Symantec provide to face these modern threats?

A growing reliance on cloud services has left organisations open to attacks, and Symantec believes that this is the next frontier for cyber-crime. This year, Symantec introduced new features to its Symantec Cloud Security Platform, further extending its cloud security offering. The Symantec Cloud Security Platform delivers a broad set of security solutions, delivered in the cloud and for the cloud. It provides a means for the chief information security officer (CISO) of the modern enterprise to securely enable cloud adoption, while unifying both cloud and traditional on-premise environments for seamless security.

What would you say is Symantec’s key value proposition?

Symantec offers a broad range of endpoint security technologies, resulting in consistent leadership in Gartner’s Magic Quadrants (e.g. its DLP product is an eight-time leader). SEP 14 is another industry first, with multi-layered protection in a single agent, powered by artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning. Its new Intelligent Threat Cloud works hand in hand with Advanced Machine Learning at the endpoint to ensure customers have an up-to-date advanced protection platform.

The recent acquisitions of Lifelock and Blue Coat further strengthened Symantec’s position in the cybersecurity industry. The latter deal combines Blue Coat’s AI tools and security telemetry with Symantec’s threat detection network, creating a vast threat intelligence force.

Security spending is set to increase in coming years. Do you see this having an impact on actual IT security?

Yes, absolutely. When we look at the scale and magnitude of the recent cyberattacks, whether it’s WannaCry, Mirai or Shamoon, more regional organisations in both private and public sectors are looking at strengthening their existing cybersecurity infrastructure. The reality of the situation is that we live in the digital age, and it often takes one simple, yet sophisticated attack to cripple critical infrastructure such as airports, oil installations, banks and tourism networks. Having said that, it is worth noting that the government of countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia have taken commendable measures to solidify cybersecurity in their countries. Furthermore, various entities have made efforts to identify and foster future cybersecurity specialists, and there is also a growing awareness about cyberthreats in the weakest link in the chain – the end user or consumer.

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