As the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, individuals, government institutions and the private sector will only become more exposed to cyber attacks, with such crimes collectively costing more than a trillion dollars in the near future, experts warn.
Meanwhile, as this metastasizing menace vacuums up more and more private data, intellectual property, and hard-earned money, the cybersecurity field itself is struggling to build a large enough army of highly trained experts to deter and thwart such heists.
How governments and private companies plan to address this growing threat is a question we posed to Roy Zur, a retired Israeli Security Forces officer who spent a decade in the Israeli Defense Forces' Unit, also referred to as “8200.”
Zur is the CEO and Founder of Cybint Solutions, an international cyber education company. He says there are currently about 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally—a staggering sum, considering the stakes. This ominous void comes at a time when entities are contending with cyber criminals embracing new technologies that make it increasingly difficult to bring perpetrators of these low-risk, high-reward crimes to justice.
Case in point: Hackers responsible for some of the most audacious attacks in recent memory have yet to be held accountable, according to research conducted by McAfee, a global computer security company.
“When you think of big cybercrimes, from Target to SWIFT to Equifax,” a January 2018 McAfee report states, “none of the perpetrators have been prosecuted to date.”
Cybint may have a solution to a common problem vexing everyone from politicians and defense officials to CEOs and owners of small businesses. In the latest episode of the Pivot Factory Podcast, Zur breaks down the evolution of his company, and how it developed an innovative way to accelerate education and train future cybersecurity professionals.
To gain a deeper appreciation of the world in which Zur operates, it’s important to first acquire a better understanding of “cyber” as a concept.
As Zur tells Leadbetter: “In my point of view, when we say cybersecurity, we’re limited only to the protection of data. And when I think about ‘cyber’ in general, I think that it has many more implications than just security.”
From cyber espionage and cyber crimes to cyber warfare and cyber intelligence, there are myriad issues governments and private institutions must confront.
“Cyber...of course it’s about cybersecurity, it’s about protection of data," explains Zur. "But cyber intelligence, it’s about the collection and analysis of data. And cyber warfare is how to develop more...offensive cyber tools between governments and how to conduct cyber attacks and cyber operations between governments. And cyber education, where I come from is...a section between all these aspects of cyber: security, intelligence, warfare, offensive, and the human factor—how it interacts with people, people’s knowledge, people’s skills, with new jobs, with the industries that it’s changing.”
CYBERSECURITY MEETS INNOVATION
Zur is the consummate entrepreneur. He created other small businesses since leaving the Israeli security forces and obtaining a law degree, but wanted to do something “bigger.” Now he’s on the cusp of creating an ecosystem capable of providing cyber defense tools to organizations throughout the globe.
By harnessing technology and leveraging his security insights, Zur and his team have been able to accelerate learning and provide tools to future cybersecurity professionals internationally.
Cybint has developed education programs and technological solutions for private companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. The firm currently has several dozen dedicated cyber centers globally, including in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Since we spend a lot of time on this podcast discussing exponential growth, we’d be remiss to mention that Cybint plans to have more than 1,000 such centers by 2020.
By harnessing technology and leveraging his security insights, Zur and his team have been able to accelerate learning and provide tools to future cybersecurity professionals internationally. Once their training is complete, Cybint will be able to place them with the relevant companies that fit their strengths.
“You can be a target as a 50-people business or as a 50,000-people business,” explains Zur. “So our main concern is how to build the capabilities of these organizations. And to build these capabilities, you understand that they need three main components: they need the right people, they need the relevant skills, and they need the right technology. And what we do, we created an accelerated process of solving all these three problems.”
This model that Zur has created couldn’t come at a better time. According to a report released by the financial firm Wells Fargo, the average cost of a cyber crime to a company based in the United States was more than $21 million in 2017. Speaking of the United States, at least 64 percent of Americans have “been victims of fraudulent charges or loss of personal information,” according to McAfee.
Ginni Rometty, IBM Corp Chairman, President, and CEO, in 2015 said, “cyber crime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world."
Meanwhile, technology is growing at a rapid pace, and data is increasingly being pilfered by people with bad intentions.
While some of the world’s most famous digitally native companies are leveraging the power of the internet, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies to grow their companies at an advanced pace, Zur has found a way to do so while also investing in people. As a result, he’s able to create a new workforce and equip them with the tools to help both the public and private sector take on this trillion-dollar criminal enterprise.
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The Pivot Factory Podcast is a Morey Creative Studios production.
The Pivot Factory Podcast is hosted by Michael Leadbetter, and engineered and produced by Michael Conforti, Rashed Mian and Christopher Twarowski. Jed Morey is the executive producer.