Tony Jarvis, Chief Technology Officer of Asia Pacific and Japan for Check Point Software, collaborates with business leaders and CISOs to understand their cyber risk exposure, and to tailor effective cyber security strategies to meet their needs. In addition to serving as a Chief Technology Officer, Tony contributes to corporate thought leadership, pursues media engagements, and represents the brand as a keynote speaker at international cyber security events.

In this two-part interview series, join Tony as he discusses how to conceptualize cyber security and how to recalibrate cyber architecture to fit the evolving digital landscape amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Q: How have cyber attacks changed since the global onset of the coronavirus?

A: Threat actors are taking advantage of the chaos and the dispersal of malware threats is of particular concern. In the first three months of 2020, we saw a 35% increase in malware threats alone, as threat actors modified existing malware so that it could better evade detection. We’re also seeing the regular emergence of new types of malware attacks.

Right now, it’s easy for cyber criminals to capitalize on threats as cyber crime is built on threat actors’ abilities to exploit fear, anxiety and uncertainty; sentiments that continue to grow amidst the pandemic. This explains why we’re seeing increased threat volume.

Q: How have attack surfaces changed in the past 2-3 months?

A: Of successful data breaches, 70% occur via endpoint exploits. With an increasing number of people working from home, more systems are connected to the network, and more endpoints are vulnerable than ever before. We saw a 14,000% increase in coronavirus related spam during the last two weeks of March. Preventing attacks across new endpoint surfaces is critical to organizational integrity.

Q: Are any specific industries being targeted?

A: For most hackers, the objective is to turn a profit from their endeavors. They will target any organization with a critical need to access specific, personally identifiable information. This type of information sells for high prices on the dark web, as it can be used to impersonate others, and to obtain access to their monetary resources. For this reason, hospitals, pharmaceutical groups, critical infrastructure, FSIs and many other types of organizations are at elevated risk of cyber attack.

Q: Who’s behind these attacks?

A: A lot of spam attacks have originated in Asia, although there have been a mix of nations trying to profit from cyber crime. A joint advisory committee composed of members from the US and the UK is currently investigating cyber incidents involving virus-related intelligence theft. The stolen information may enable the hackers to derive significant profit from the data. While unnamed in the report, those behind the incidents are thought to live in Iran, Russia and China.

Did you gain new insights from this interview? Don’t miss our second thought provoking piece with industry expert Tony Jarvis. Stay tuned.