ESET has been one of the leading security vendors globally and in the region. It has a strong channel program and engagement in place which has delivered successful outcomes. Palo Luka, CTO of the company speaks about emerging trends and ESET’s product strategies to combat malware and cybercrimes
Is the challenge from cybercriminals tougher these days?
Cybercriminals are smarter, quite inventive and are well-funded these days. As a matter of concern, there is in fact more money in the cybercrime economy than in the AV industry these days. Sometimes, what they do is quite surprising. However, as we keep looking at trends, we can fairly predict what the threats will be. We successfully predicted the advent of malware in the mobile devices. We thought they might be a good target for cybercriminals. We started getting ready quite early on. These days, when the Mobility security threat problem is far significant, we have the right set of Technologies in place to protect.
How has predictive heuristic technologies helped manage threats?
Heuristics definitely helps. In the past such as the 1990’s for instance, we could do well with signature approach which was a reactive approach. We liked the idea of detecting something based on behavior and therefore introduced heuristics. We managed to make heuristics usable for normal people.
Instead of the user, the program makes the decision and that’s how we made heuristics usable for laypeople. These programs are more important these days when there is so much malware coming in from different directions. So definitely, proactive approaches have been useful.
In terms of detection, we have made quite significant advances in profiling behavior of applications and quite safely predict the harmful ones. There are going to be false positives with any heuristics approach and probably with signature approach as well. We cannot completely do away with the issues of false positives. The intent is to keep false positives to a very low figure. Historically, we have achieved a high detection rate and there is a very low percentage of false positives.
How is the cloud services impacting the conventional security business?
The time when everything is going to be in the cloud is still fairly far away. The traditional PCs and systems are going to stay around for quite some time especially for professional users. So I wouldn’t downplay the role of AV solutions in terms of products. What we do is offer box-service combinations. A successful product entails services of many people back in the lab who keep looking for threats and making detections. Without that, the product would be useful. This kind of product scales very well. If we detect some malware, we can come with technologies that work more generically to negate similar threats.
We work towards offering such Technologies all the time. In our current versions 7.0 of ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security, we have unveiled the Exploit blocker, which tries to prevent generic exploitation of threats. It targets the most prevalent attack vectors, including web browsers, PDF readers, e-mail clients and Microsoft Office and also provides protection against new and undiscovered malware, also known as zero day threats. Our data shows it has worked in many cases and helped quite a few people.
How do you stack up against competition?
According to IDC, we are number 5 in endpoint security based on revenues. So we are one of the major players. We aim higher. Eset is one of the old school companies, with the first product having been written in 1987 when the first computer virus started appearing, although as a company we were established in 1992. We have been seeing steady growth over the years to be among the top players.
How serious is the security challenge in mobiles and smart phones?
There is a lot of malware made for making money. Whatever you can do on a PC to make money, you can do pretty much and even more on mobile devices. Some direct methods can also be utilized such as sending SMS to premium numbers. There is malware that does exactly this and sometimes, it takes people longer to notice discrepancies in things like their mobile bills. Protecting mobile devices is highly relevant and will be more so.
We have a mobile security product but we don’t provide an MDM solutions as yet. Further, when it comes to BYOD management, we are looking at emerging trends like two different environments on a single device with separate logins for private workspace and company workspace. Leading device manufacturers are working on this and help address the BYOD challenge. Of course you need protection for both those workspaces. That is where our solutions come in.