We want to educate people and help them make the right decisions. I’ll talk more about that in the next post. We also want to protect people from the very cynical, highly organized criminal organisations that have hijacked the internet.
Forget the guy with the Coke and the pizza out to have a good time.
Let’s talk about who we are really up against:
Today, internet criminals are professional, white-collar criminals out to make a profit. It’s an industry with a set-up of bosses and employees just like any other – with job titles such as Malware Distributor, Identity Collector, Bot Master. The weapons they use have fancy names too: “Poisoned Search”, “Rogue Antivirus”, “Clickjacking”, etc. If you think it sounds like a film Laurence Fishburne would star in, well then, you’re not far off!
The Dark Side even has its own black “stock exchange” where goods are traded every day at market value. The goods traded are information and access:
- Personal information about unsuspecting computer users – credit card details, passwords, birthdays etc.
- Access to their computers to turn them into puppets, so-called “bots”, and enlist them in a bot army, ready to spread infection and attack systems.
The money made from these transactions are spent on funding drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorist activities – you name it.
All in all, it’s a nasty reality and we don’t like it. But it gives us a chance to be the good guy, the hero warding off Evil at the gates. Now this role we like – we’re only human, after all …
Our answer to beating these baddies?
The way we see it, there are three ways to combat the criminals – and none of them are easy fixes.
A technological counterattack that confronts malware on the battlefield (i.e. the internet) is the first line of defence.
One of our most powerful weapons is our plug-and-play architecture. Rather than developing all technology from scratch in-house, we monitor the market constantly for emerging technologies. We then partner up with the various vendors and implement new features and modules in our products. If something new or better comes along, we can incorporate the ones we feel are relevant and useful or just plain cool! Consequently, our users can feel confident that we always use best-of-breed for all technologies included in our products.
This gives us a real edge in the fight against crime. A great example of the edge is the technology we call Behavioural Detection, which is groundbreaking in the effort to keep up with the fight against malware.
Geek version of why Behavioural Detection is cool:
Behavioural Detection is fundamentally different from traditional virus detection. Traditional virus detection, which includes heuristic, signature based and URL filtering detection, is the ability to detect mutations of already known viruses based on traditional signature detection. Behavioural Detection identifies viruses long before these traditional methods, and is based on the behaviour of the virus. Consequently, instead of merely catching viruses once they’ve been listed in the virus signature database, Behavioural Detection identifies viruses which behave abnormally based on file, registry, process, and network events on the computer and shuts them off.
Translation for the common people:
Behavioural Detection is a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ technology: if it walks like a virus, talks like a virus and dances like a virus it probably is, and is therefore quarantined. The nanosecond it exhibits any kind of virusy behaviour it is neutralized and no longer dangerous.
Educating the masses:
Information, education, enlightenment is one of the most important defences.
We believe that user awareness and user behaviour are key security features: if you don’t realize you’re at risk, you are not going to do anything to stay safe – all the fancy technology in the world is not going to stop crime if it’s left sitting in the box. Likewise, if the fancy technology is not presented in a way that makes it accessible and becomes too difficult to use, you’re no better off. That’s why we believe that simplicity is a security feature in its own right.
It is crucial to get across to people the risks involved when they go about their daily, digital lives and want to bank, shop, game, socialize, surf, share files and download. To help them along, it is our responsibility to give them a piece of software they can figure out how to use without wishing they had a degree in Advanced Computer Terminology.
There is no international cyber police, and that is a huge problem. It goes without saying that cyber criminals are quite mobile, hard to trace and even more difficult to pin down. It follows that old-fashioned law enforcement, restricted by national borders and the systems and politics of sovereign states is insufficient.
In a perfect world, governments, legal organisations, security professionals and the software and financial industries would be able to act swiftly and effectively against organised crime, bringing all of their different skills and knowledge to bear on the criminal organisations.
There is a lot of malicious intent out there and a lot of people are getting hurt. No one, person or company, is going to solve it, and it’s certainly not going to go away on its own.
In my next post I’ll tell you how we try to help you protect yourself.