HomeTechnologyCheck Point CEO Gil Shwed: "Cyber ​​attack risk is at an all-time...

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed: “Cyber ​​attack risk is at an all-time high and will stay that way.”

An Israeli engineer, president and founder of one of the largest online security companies, is leaving his position to face an unprecedented level of global threats from another location.

Gil Shwed is an Israeli engineer and founder of cybersecurity company Check Point.CP

Born in Jerusalem 55 years ago, Gil Shwed has led one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies for three decades. After serving in the Israeli army, the largest source of cyber threat experts, he founded Check Point at the age of 25, together with Shlomo Kramer and Marius Nacht. Although he is the longest-serving CEO of a Nasdaq company (the second-largest stock exchange in the United States), he decided to leave his position of maximum responsibility at a company that has seen the greatest impact of worldwide cyberattacks in history. It has more than 5,000 employees, is back on the profit track (it closed the year with €2,265 million, 4% more than in 2022) and has witnessed the dizzying growth of companies like Palo Alto, created by the former engineer. Checkpoint Nir Zuk. He gives this interview during his company’s congress (CPX) in Vienna (Austria), where he displayed the yellow ribbon symbolizing the demand for freedom of all Hamas hostages.

To ask. Why are you leaving the CEO position?

Reply. I’m not leaving Checkpoint. I’m moving on to CEO. I want to focus on new areas and I will be ready for anything. I’m Nasdaq’s longest-serving CEO, and it’s an interesting time to be thinking about what’s next and moving Check Point forward. We have a very strong team, we have a very good product portfolio, and it’s a good time to think about what the company will be in the next five or 10 years. Part of my job involved holding up to 12 half-hour meetings every day, and if I really wanted to listen to customers, learn new technologies, and solve problems, I had to focus on these tasks and spend more time on them.

Q. Are we living in a time when the risk of cyber attacks is highest?

R. Risk is at an all-time high and will likely stay that way. Malicious actors are increasingly learning about vulnerabilities in infrastructure. Not only is it evolving, but the amount of infrastructure at risk is also increasing. We are more dependent on technology and more connected than ever before. This is a good thing, it is very important for our world, but it also means that all companies can fall victim to attacks. If we look at the infrastructure software (programming) is even more difficult because the more complex it is, the more bugs there are and the more places to attack. Programs are 1,000 times larger in size than they were 30 years ago, and their attack potential is much greater. Also, all computers are connected and there are many more services that we consume online.

We are more dependent on technology and more connected than ever before. “This is a good thing, it’s very important for our world, but it also means that all companies can fall victim to attacks.”

Q. As a company headquartered in Israel, how did the war in Gaza affect you?

R. The main impact of this has been the conscription of some of our employees, approximately 5% of our workforce. From day one we insisted that we stay in business and fulfill all our commitments. And we do, so it didn’t have a significant impact on our results. No one is happy to be at war. It’s not the best situation, but from a business standpoint we’re OK with it.

Q. What will this year be like in terms of cyber security?

R. Attacks on infrastructure are highly sophisticated and States will continue to be behind criminal groups. Cyber ​​attacks will be the fifth generation: very sophisticated and very difficult to detect. We remain at very high risk and it will get even higher. An attack is never good, but we are seeing more and more protection and technologies being discovered that will enable us to best defend ourselves. The bad news is that there are many more organizations attacking and many more organizations being attacked.

Q. They use artificial intelligence (AI), but so do malicious actors. Who wins the race?

R. We win because we keep our world connected and functioning. The Internet does more good than harm. Generative AI tools give attackers a wealth of access from simple things like typing a message. phishing (fake identity theft) or a scam.

We win because we keep our world connected and functioning. “The Internet does more good than harm.”

Q. Can we protect ourselves?

R. It is simpler against the wrong message. Can we protect ourselves from sophisticated movies now? deepfake (deepfake videos that look real)? We are investigating this and may be able to determine whether a video clip was produced by real people or artificial intelligence.

Q. They are constantly exploring how to defend the machine, the internet and the cloud, but ultimately the human factor, that is, the person, is the most vulnerable point in the chain. How to fix this weakness?

R. We should learn to be more careful, but I’m not sure humans are most vulnerable. If you look at some of the most devastating attacks, you will see that the human factor is very limited. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but there are zero-click attacks that allow someone to access your computer, cell phone, or anything without you doing anything. This is the most sophisticated type of attack. But even when you click on something, it’s not you who causes the damage; It is the activation of a very complex process that exploits a vulnerability in the underlying application.

Q. Is anyone safe?

R. No. But I don’t want to scare, instead I want to give the message that you can be safe and that it is good to use the internet, but we must not forget that if I give my data on the internet they will be at risk. It’s good to take this risk though. My life becomes much better by communicating with people or doing e-commerce. Is it safer? I think so too. Could the internet be safer? Yes, because you can use different tools to do this.

We must not forget that if I give my data on the network they are at risk. But it’s good to take this risk. My life becomes much better by communicating with people or doing e-commerce.”

Q. Have you ever experienced a personal attack?

R. No, but my phone says it has protected me from some unsafe sites a few times in the last few weeks, which I accessed by browsing very legitimate websites.

Q. Threats are global but solutions are individual. Is intercompany collaboration possible to reduce this disadvantage?

R. The number one priority for us is collaboration, which makes our products more collaborative.

Q. Old weapons like USB flash drive infection and others never seen before are reemerging.

R. This year we’ve seen attacks that were very common 15 years ago, such as those created via USB devices. They try to reach computers that are not connected to the Internet or are very well protected. We do a good job with firewalls on the Internet. But that’s why collaboration is so important. I need this when I see the attacker on the network, on USB or on my mobile phone.

North Korea is an extreme example because being offline they could be the worst aggressor because they have nothing to lose. “They’re an advanced nation, they’re smart and they know how to use technology, but the risk there is very limited.”

Q. There are now attacks that do not seek money, but only aim to destroy the operational capacity of critical infrastructures.

R. Motivation changes. In the early days of the internet, most of the incidents came from people who just wanted to show off their skills. State-sponsored and ideologically motivated attacks now only seek to cause real harm; Not to take money or even steal data, but to cause harm.

Q. Russia, Iran and North Korea are some of the sponsoring countries. Is there any way to avoid these?

R. We are trying to protect everyone from everyone else. We see major attacks everywhere, and we don’t always know to whom to attribute them because their source is hidden. Many countries do these not directly, but through organizations working for them. By the way, North Korea is an extreme example because being offline they have nothing to lose so they could be the worst aggressor. They are an advanced nation, they are smart and know how to use technology, but since they do not connect to the internet, the risk there is very limited.

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Source: El Pais



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