“Work from home has opened many new doors for cyber criminals”

Zakir Hussain-BD Soft

The way India has moved towards the digital world, it is facing not only the personal but also national security challenges at every door. The increasing penetration of cyber attacks and digital transactions, especially in the wake of COVID-19, has revolutionized the world; it has also spawned a series of cryptic threats — the menaces of digital piracy, cyber-crime, stalking and online infidelity. To discuss the same and its measures to have a safe internet experience, Ramesh Kumar Raja caught up with Zakir Hussain, CEO, BD Soft, a leading IT security distributor offering industry-leading consumer and enterprise-level solutions in Indian market. Excerpts:

How do you look at the current situation of cyber security in India, especially in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak forcing people to work from home?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread business disruptions, particularly due to business continuity via remote working. Since cyber security was not as sought-after precaution, WFH during lockdown only led to companies using instant fixes to protect their data, rather than a long term solution. With that, work from home has opened many new doors for cyber criminals. Over last few months, there has been massive spike, in cyber attacks and malicious attacks especially in India. The several unprotected home networks with BYOD devices, have boosted the cases of cyber-attacks, hacking, ransomware posing serious challenges to the new economic realities where digital networks are widely used for schools, colleges, government machineries and financial transactions. India’s critical sectors such as banking, financial services etc have fallen prey to this situation.

The current situation calls for Indian businesses to engage robust preventive and detective technical measures to deal with the increasing threat of cyber attacks.

Since mobile phones are there in every hand, how vulnerable we are to cyber attacks, particularly when most of our activities have shifted online via smartphones?

Smartphones have become a much convenient mode to provide an efficient and convenient way to access, find and share information; however, the availability of this information has caused an increase in cyber attacks. While people are moving towards true digitalization, monetary transactions have become rather enticing to cyber attackers because they can gain access to bank account information after hacking a user’s smartphone. Traditional security softwares that we find for our personal PCs or laptops such as firewalls, antivirus, and encryption are not pre-installed in smartphones making them extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. The convenience of carrying a smartphone which acts as your little computer is exactly the loophole that cyber crooks exploit to gain your personal data.

“Smartphones have become a much convenient mode to provide an efficient and convenient way to access, find and share information; however, the availability of this information has caused an increase in cyber attacks. While people are moving towards true digitalization, monetary transactions have become rather enticing to cyber attackers because they can gain access to bank account information after hacking a user’s smartphone”

What are the most common cyber threats nowadays as they keep changing/ evolving with time or day-today lifestyle trend?

Ransomware, phishing, data leak, insider threat, Trojans and malware on mobile apps are few of the most common threats experienced since COVID-19. Cyber threats are rarely static and they keep evolving to make space in the digital space, and have hence become more and more intense lately.

What one should do to keep cyber attacks at bay, as the situation is only going to worsen in coming times, giving more rooms to cyber crimes?

Few of the simplest cyber defense protocols that one can follow on a personal level are:

Password Hygiene: This goes a long way for people to avoid getting hacked. Easy passwords are giving a way for attackers to penetrate your personal data, such as passwords based on birth dates, age, etc. Your passwords need to be strong enough to ensure the basic safety.

Beware of Phishing attacks: Phishing attacks often happen in the form of an email pretending to be from a legitimate organization, such as your bank, the tax department, or some other trusted entity. Due to its legitimate pretense, people panic and give off their information which is why phishing attacks are the most common and surprisingly effective threats.

Stay up-to-date on the know-hows of the latest cyber security trends: Cyber security has not been as much of an impactful subject among the Indian masses on a large scale. However, since COVID-19 people have become more aware of data protection and they need to keep going on the path learning more about the latest happenings in cyber security. The future is digitization, and people need to update themselves with the latest trends to ensure security on a personal level too.

Are governments and their public-dealing institutions doing enough to protect citizens falling prey to cyber crimes?

The government keeps on doing their things. But, we as people and end-users need to understand also and deploy the necessary security measures which we are capable of doing. Let’s not blame the government. Let’s learn ourselves and use the best practice to keep our digital life and data safe.

Don’t you think there’s a dire need of literacy programmes for masses to be aware about the evolving threat looming large on the horizon?

Yes, there surely is a dire need to educate the masses regarding the cyber security threats that loom over them, as India is now evolving to digitization on a large scale. On an organizational level and educational level, one can conduct mandatory sessions to educate the people about the magnitude of cyber security in our lives moving forward, and ways to tackle the same. On a personal level, we at BD Soft are also coming up with educational program to educate our partners and consumers about the issues and how can they take care of their data in such a situation.

BD Soft has created a niche for itself in providing the cyber security solutions across sectors. Can you please tell us in short about the services you provide and what are the technicalities involved?

BD Software Distribution (BD Soft) is one of the largest cyber security distributors in India. Our varied portfolio of products includes, Bitdefender Endpoint Security solutions for Consumers and Enterprises (Country partner) End Point Protector (DLP solutions) from CoCosys,  Proget (MDM solutions),  Zecurion (UBA & DLP), Abbyy (Fine Reader 7 OCR), Digitware (Cloud Backup), Supermail (Mailing Services), Mailvault (Mail backup). The complete security solutions are offered to the customers via our reseller base across the country.

Rapid adoption of Cloud and IoT technologies are resulting in growing complexities pertaining to data security, network infrastructure, and security regulation & compliance, thereby boosting demand for cyber security solutions and services across the country. What’s your take on this, especially when threat points have increased?

The rate of ‘things’ being attached to the internet is increasing and everyone has heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) but are they aware of the security risks involved. Education before using devices connected to the net is very important and necessary. We feel that such devices should inform the users about the security risks and how can they avoid it.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are said to be the new disruptors in the tech world. Are you adopting these technologies?

All the products we sell are adopting these technologies and trying to be one step ahead from the bad actors. The solutions we sell have deployed good number of time and money to keep evolving.

What are the areas of growth for BD Soft in the country and what is your roadmap for the same?

We are working on building an aggressive roadmap for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. There is a growing demand and unexplored market which now is awakening to cyber security. The awareness among the Tier 2-3 markets is negligible and so, to let the message reach the end audience we have launched a series of educational programs to make the businesses/enterprises aware of the dangers of reckless digitization.

To take the distribution to the small towns, we have been rapidly expanding our reach and also the channel network. We have also been undertaking special Training of our alliances/partners to ensure final mile is delivered to the people. We have also added products such as DLP, EDR and MDM to our extensive portfolio of security solutions, thereby strengthening our position in the Indian markets.

Other players such as Quick Heal, McAfee, Norton, etc. too have aggressive plans for India. What will be your strategy to be a leader in the market?

The market is huge, and the consumers are also becoming educated. We have worked on our strategies and accordingly executing it in the market. Being a lean and newcomer, we are open to changes and disruptive way of doing things which gives us faster and better results. The idea is to connect with as many partners and customers you can and educate them on our solutions. Some solutions take time to establish and some do immediate business and we have products of both the kinds.

Can you please tell us about the security trends that will dominate the market in 2021?

Some of the key trends include – Endpoint Management: Managing endpoints with remote workforce shall play a crucial role, as these endpoints can be the entry point to corporate networks for cyber criminals. EDR is also becoming a must sought after solution by banks and enterprises, Hyper Automation: Businesses by 2021 shall look at automating several of its processes. Adoption of new technologies – AI, ML, RPA (Robotic Process automation) shall bring several new challenges.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *