How cyber attacks became a "strategic killer" in Singapore

Business loss may take billions.

Singapore Business Review interviewed Mr. Ashar Aziz, the Founder and CSO of threat protection startup FireEye, to discuss about the new breed of cyber threats that haunt Asia's government agencies, banks, and top corporations.

In his recent visit to Singapore, Mr Aziz stressed that a company can lose billions due to cyber attacks and threats which can further lead to security compromise.

"The cost are mounting and on top of our concrete cause, there's a manual labor cost associated with that. These are cost to having actual damage inflicted on your organization," he said. Specifically, a company may need to shell out $USD100-200m just to recover and replace damaged devices.

He cited some of the recent massive cyber attacks which drew significant destruction for business as well as the media. In Saudi Arabia, one of the largest oil producers had to shut down for weeks due to a destructive cyber attack.

The same scenario goes for Qatar where one company lost huge numbers after business operations where ceased amidst perilous cyber threats.

He noted that Singapore, like many countries around the globe, is at risk of intellectual property lost. Cyber attacks are a "strategic killer" which can milk millions of pesos from individuals and companies. 

"It's a very pernicious kind of attack and it might show up in your income state tomorrow with all your intellectual property stolen, somebody's using your dollars to manufacture costs goods and flood them into the market. it's a strategic killer." 

He also outlined the sectors which are most prones to such attacks. This include the military, oil and gas, and IT among others.

In line with the outlook of cyber threat protection industry, Mr. Aziz said that opportunities are abundant as the public is already aware of the risks. 

"Opportunities are actually incredible because the whole area is agreeing from our perspective. The perception of risks is increasing every day..." he added.

To combat these these threats, Mr. Aziz proposed options: study such attacks and provide an architecture of solution.

In FireEye, for example, threats and attack are being resolved through a ‘completely new model’ of security defense, known as sandboxing, that can thwart more sophisticated attacks (e.g. Zero Day, Advance Malware, and polymorphic attacks).  

He concluded by saying that the evolution of cyber threats are getting worse and that 

"..any govt had a hard time defending themselves. They are looking at a physical space to defend them, that's not gonna happen.

So, they have to take responsibility for their own security and think about the life of such threats and how should they be upgrading their defensive posture."

The FireEye technology is centered on next-generation threat protection that stops advanced malware and APT attacks. It focuses on unknown threat detection using real time and high-degree measures. 

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