Kaspersky's Stephan Neumeier: Pay and the Hackers Own You

DEFENSE UP

Kaspersky's Stephan Neumeier: Pay and the Hackers Own You

Kaspersky Lab Asia MD Stephan Neumeier advises effective cyber security defence against ransomware attacks, or be prepared to be wiped out for good.

Today, the human population is connected by more than nine billion devices. This puts a security risk on the whole population should hackers unleash a virus.

In the online world, cyber-criminals can attack even from the other side of the world in seconds. The Internet is a dangerous place as there are no boundaries.

With the growth of technology comes increased security risks. Today’s hackers want more than just company data; they are out to steal personal information, passwords and credit card numbers.

It’s easy to understand why cyber hacking has become such a lucrative profession. Hackers have been known to earn up to $80,000 per month.

Based out of Singapore is Stephan Neumeier, the man who has the tools to help companies put up an effective security system. Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab Asia, he’s on a mission to educate Malaysian companies about the importance of cyber security.

“I’ve been in the IT industry for nearly 20 years, having worked in the European market, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and then the last eight years in Asia Pacific,” says Stephan.

What a company should never do if they become a victim of ransomware is pay. If they pay, then the attackers basically own them

Kaspersky is a Russia-founded cyber security firm which develops antivirus products and services, serving over 400 million users worldwide.

Following the “Wannacry” attack last year, that also hit Malaysia, he explains it was because victims did not have their systems patched with the right technologies, leading them to be a target of the malicious software.

“What a company should never do if they become a victim of ransomware is pay. If they pay, then the attackers basically own them, and that will be a never-ending story,” says Stephan.

Stephan says most companies do not make enough investments into cyber security. And if they did, the money often does not go into covering the right places. He advises companies to treat cyber security as a four-step process of prevent, protect, detect and response.

"We don’t see that happening yet in Malaysia but it is the same issue in most of the other regions as well.”

“Most companies still invest their budget mainly in prevention. Prevention is looking into anti-virus technologies but not protecting the end points,” states Stephan.

He, however, admits that he is still studying the Asian market and still has much to learn.

“Each country has its own culture; this is important (to learn) in order to stimulate and drive the business. It is a constant learning curve for me."

“For example, if I deal with China and the Chinese government, it is a completely different business approach compared to how you do it in India or Australia,” Stephan adds.

Asked whether he’s ever been a victim of cyber-attack, he reveals that it affects his wife more than him. “I’m trying to educate her to change passwords frequently. Because hackers usually go through your private email address. Once they gain access to that, they build on it.”

“So, I’m not aware if I’ve ever been a victim myself. But I get a lot of fishy spam emails and such, best way is to just delete it,” advises Stephan.

What does the future hold in the world of cyberspace? Perhaps a more developed security system? With the growth in technology, possibly encountering bigger and badder hackers?

“Sadly, it will not go away, I think I can confidently predict that. It is going to grow, with all the new technologies which are introduced into the market, devices that are connected to the internet. So, obviously the security risks will increase.

"Unfortunately, security plays a bigger role only when something happens . But security needs to built in since day one," he emphasises. 

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