Upskill Security Professionals to Prepare for 21st Century Cyber Attacks

Kaushal Dalal, Managing Director - India, FireEye
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Kaushal Dalal, Managing Director - India, FireEye
FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE) offers products and services which help stop the latest generation of cyber attacks, such as advanced malware, that easily bypass traditional signature-based defenses and compromise over 95 percent of enterprise networks. The company has a current market capital of $2.71 billion.

While 2015 brought information technology initiatives into mainstream conversations, it was also a time when India witnessed the dangers of digitization first-hand. As organizations became more reliant on internet and other networks, their vulnerability to attacks increase proportionately. These attacks are increasingly becoming public. Last year, FireEye detected a decade-long cyber espionage campaign by a China-based group called APT30, which targeted Southeast Asian organizations including an Indian Aerospace and Defense Company and a leading telecommunications firm. Later in the year, we revealed a spear-phishing campaign, again by Chinese threat actors, targeting organizations with information about diplomatic matters and border disputes. Approximately 70 percent of the victims were in India, with a focus on governmental, diplomatic, scientific and educational organizations.

These were sophisticated operations - well-funded, organized, persistent and tailored to their targets. The resources behind these attacks reveal the stakes. India is fast becoming a strategic target for cyber criminals as it embarks on ambitious projects like Digital India and Smart Cities. Additionally, as India's IT exports continue to grow, attackers increasingly use Indian subsidiaries to launch attacks against large multi-national corporations. With the growth of interconnected business operations, the cyber landscape looks more volatile, presenting new security challenges. India's growing economy and regional influence are also making it more attractive to attackers. A FireEye report revealed that 38 percent of organizations in India were exposed to targeted advanced persistent attacks in the first half of 2015, a 23 percent increase from the previous report.

While the risks have grown steadily as we become more reliant on technology, no one is calling for a halt to innovations. Instead, we need to focus on improving our defenses, and building capable security talent is crucial in this endeavor.

While this won't happen overnight, Indian policy-makers recognize the need. NASSCOM launched a Cyber Security Task Force last year to build India as a global hub for providing cyber security solutions, prepare a cyber security R&D plan and develop a skilled workforce of cyber security experts. The intention is to have a million certified and skilled cyber security professionals in India. This target has doubled from just three years ago; in 2012, the aim was to build 500,000 engineers, thus indicating the growing awareness of cyber risks.

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