In this edited interview excerpt from the TechCheck Podcast, Check Point CEO Gil Shwed shares insights into his company’s growth, expectations for 2023, and provides perspectives on the groundbreaking technology that is ChatGPT. Don’t miss this. And if you like what you read, be sure to watch the full interview.

Welcome! Let’s start with the billings and the margins: What do you see as happening with demand out there and what’s happening with costs that are affecting you in terms of business margins?

GS: I think that our margins are very healthy. We’ve always been in the 40-some percent of operating and net margin…Actually, some in the 50% region…Our challenge is not the margins. As always, our challenge is to provide better security and to grow the business.

In 2022, we did that very well. Last year, we saw the fastest growth since 2015.

What does have those operating margins down from last year? Is that higher costs of employees? Will that ease in 2023? How are things going to normalize?

GS: The main thing in growing our business is that we’ll need to invest in employees. We hired a lot more people last year. The market has been very competitive, so people are getting paid more. And we’re getting into more markets – that’s the main thing.

There’s also some additional cost in the supply chain. The devices from manufacturers cost more than they used to and I hope that the costs will decrease. We’re supplying more cloud-based services, and they cost more…

But mainly it’s our employees. We’re a software business.

Two things that I wonder about when it comes to cyber security and threats in 2023. It seems that when the economy goes down, it opens up new attack vectors. Are you seeing anything to that effect?

And then with conversational AI – If it gets into the wrong hands, it could lead to social engineering. Is that something that perhaps is happening or that you’re already beginning to build and guard against?

GS: So the answer to both questions is ‘yes’. We have seen a big increase in cyber attacks. Last year, I think the worldwide average has been 38% increase in cyber attack…In the U.S., I think that number is more in the 50% range…

Artificial intelligence is a major new trend that we’ve all witnessed, and I think it’s great. It can be used by cyber criminals…it can be used for social engineering. Hackers find it very easy to use in order to communicate.

In the future, hackers may be able to create bots that behave like human beings…and almost all of the new tools that we have can write actual malware.

You an tell ChatGPT and related technology to write malicious code and it will. We’ve seen that, and our Check Point Research organization has shown that, not only can it be done, but it has also found ChatGPT-created malware in the wild.

Check out the full interview here. Lastly, to receive more cutting-edge cyber security news,  best practices and analyses, please sign up for the newsletter.