Amir Kanaan, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky
Why is GITEX GLOBAL 2022 important to your business?
GITEX gives us a platform to showcase our wide range of products and services and continue raising awareness about cybersecurity. It also gives us an up-close and personal view of the industry’s developments which inform our approach for the future. Better yet, it allows us to educate the industry about the need for cyber immunity through meaningful conversations with our existing and prospective customers.
How will Kaspersky be evolving to protect enterprises in the Middle East?
The Middle East is a very important region for us. We’ve been operating in the region for 15 years and have been growing year over year. In 2021 we reported a 24% growth in B2B sales. While in the first half of 2022, we had an 8% YoY overall growth. We are on a successful streak, and we continue it by empowering our partners, distributors and customers with award-wining cybersecurity solutions. We also opened a new office in Saudi Arabia to further expand our network in the Middle East.
Tell us about the launches, products and services you will be exhibiting at GITEX GLOBAL 2022?
Innovation will take centre stage at our booth during GITEX Global 2022. Kaspersky is constantly pushing the boundaries of cybersecurity with more than 1,200 patents around the world. For this year, we are very excited to showcase our concept of Cyber Immunity to our customers, partners and attendees at the event. As part of our Cyber Immunity portfolio, we will be launching the Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway 1000, a new offering for IIoT protection, which is built on our proprietary operating system, KasperskyOS. The product is designed is designed to serve as a secure gateway for the Internet of Things in an enterprise network.
We will also showcase our Enterprise portfolio that reflects the security demands of today’s businesses, responding to the needs of organisations at different levels of maturity with a stage-by-stage approach. ERD and threat intelligence as a core of our offering.
In addition to that, other solutions that will be presented at the booth comprise “Kaspersky Antidrone”, a drone protection solution at sites of all sizes that can cater to the airports, sport stadiums, oil and gas plants and so on.
We will also highlight our Kaspersky Consumer Business Alliances: a complete portfolio of cybersecurity products and services to mobile operators, internet providers, B2C Resellers and other partners.
What trends do you forecast for the cybersecurity sector in the UAE and the region in the next year?
Firstly, targeted attacks by APTs will always be a threat to governments and enterprises not only in the UAE but on a global level. The sophistication in their attacks is becoming more and more complex. Kaspersky’s researchers are currently tracking 29 APT groups across the Middle East, 16 of them are active in the UAE and targeting the country’s governmental and diplomatic institutions as well as educational, financial and healthcare organisations.
Industries using critical infrastructure have to tighten their security strategies because even a small vulnerability can be easily exploited. Kaspersky’s data shows that every third industrial computers were targeted in the Middle East in the first half of this year.
IoT plays an important role in building smart cities, digitising power plants and refineries, and ensuring seamless connectivity across industrial organisations. These devices must be protected, especially that increased connectivity also means an increase in vulnerabilities and threats. Kaspersky’s telemetry shows more than 67,000 infected IoT devices in the META from January to September. These infected IoT devices were responsible for 11 million attacks.
Another important trend witnessed both regionally and globally is cyber education as well as capacity building. Given that employees are the first line of defence, companies must invest in education their employees on basic cyber hygiene practices. We’re also seeing that governments around the region are investing in capacity building for students in order to prep the next generation of cyber experts and equip them with the knowledge and tools to embrace new technologies safely.
Moving to the digital universe, with the emergence of the Metaverse, we need to consider and prepare for a new wave of unknown threats. Similarly, the government, education and healthcare also have to strengthen their cyber defences as they go increasingly digital.
Do cybercriminals mostly target government institutions or private companies? What sector can be called a leader by the number of cyberattacks?
• The government sector in the region is one of the most exposed.
• Finance, e-commerce and retail industries rank second.
• Anything related to money and data gets a lot of attention.
• Attacks on critical infrastructure of heavy industries like manufacturing, oil and mining, chemicals and so on are increasing. These attacks prove to be particularly dangerous because they can interrupt production processes or worst, affect people’s lives.
What should enterprises be doing today to keep their systems and data safe?
The risk is real but there are three things’ enterprises can do to defend themselves:
• Involve the C-suite leadership in cybersecurity teams: It is in great interest to have the board and cybersecurity teams engaged in regular conversations about security standards. The C-suite can have a broad-level, strategic view while the cybersecurity team fill in the details of the why, when and how.
• Invest in strong cybersecurity training: Security is every team member’s responsibility. Half the battle is won if you have a skilled and well-trained workforce. Rely on threat intelligence platforms to help you develop regular training sessions for the teams. This way you know what new techniques are being used by cybercriminals, which groups are active and threatening to your enterprise, what is their methodology and how can you protect yourself.
• Make your cybersecurity team more diverse: There are more than 3 million vacant positions in cybersecurity globally. This is an opportunity for every enterprise to tap into the potential of their existing workforce and upskill or reskill them so that they have diversified skillset too.