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Nov 02, 2017 14:47 EEST
November 2 (SeeNews) - Companies in Southeast Europe (SEE) that cannot lean on a big multinational parent for expertise and financial ease are often highly exposed to cybersecurity attacks, senior officials at Amatas, a provider of information security services, told SeeNews.
"The main problem in the region is the level of funding for cybersecurity," Boris Goncharov, chief cyber security strategist at Amatas, told SeeNews in a joint interview with the company's chief information officer, Kostas Ferderigos, during the Fourth South East European Regional Forum on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime organised by market intelligence company IDC earlier this week.
"Many of the multinational companies in the region are making more investments and this is driven by their mother companies, but for the local businesses [spending on data protection] is problematic," Goncharov added.
Even more problematic is the lack of capacity and expertise in tackling complex issues such as threats to cybersecurity.
"Local businesses are more exposed because they do not have the support of the backbone of the mother company and they need to figure out by themselves what to do and how to do it in the best possible way," Goncharov said.
And yet, those companies do not have the capability to understand the technicalities of what is going on, he commented. "Normally, businesses are not experts in security, they never have been and they cannot be."
Confused by the vastness and complexity of information security issues, companies in SEE often end up either doing nothing, or opt for a "silver bullet solution", spending on what seems to be the trend, Ferderigos added. The first option is obviously wrong, and the 'silver bullet' is wrong as well because companies overspend and yet they remain inadequately protected, he said.
According to the two Amatas officials, SEE companies should instead go for a model that "takes the risk out of their hands."
"We see the same trend in cloud computing and the technology sector. Basically, instead of building your own infrastructure and investing money in people and knowledge and capacity you give this task to some company that provides the service."
The approach that Amatas takes to security is a holistic one, a 360-degree view incorporating physical and cyberprotection, with both reacting to accidents and predicting them, as well as educating users to be able to protect themselves.
Although the usual targets of hacker attacks are high-profile companies with gold in their pockets - companies which concentrate digital assets, financial or personal data - all businesses are at risk, according to the two officials.
"When you can go to the deep web and buy Ransomware as a service, you are not a hacker writing scripts, and this is a huge threat for everybody, it has become an industry worth hundreds of billions. For hundreds of billions to be made all businesses are vulnerable," Ferderigos commented.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim's data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid. To avoid damage to their reputation, most companies, especially small ones, do not report hacker attacks, which makes it harder to counteract cyber crime.
In a bid to create a harmonised data protection law framework across the EU and ensure that citizens have control over their personal data, while imposing strict rules on those hosting and processing this data, the bloc has prepared a set of regulations - the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will be enforceable from May 2018 after a two-year transition period and is directly binding for all member states.
"At last, with GDPR, we are starting to put a framework in place in protecting data," Ferderigos said.
Until the GDPR becomes a fact, companies in SEE have on their side a few region-specific advantages.
Cyberattacks in SEE do not make the headlines as often as elsewhere because the region is not a politically important target for terrorists and there is not much money circulating here, Goncharov explained. Furthermore, to commit a phishing attack on a SEE target, a hacker needs to know the language, and local languages are not like English.
"It is more difficult to make a proper phishing attack when you speak Bulgarian."
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