Security Snapshot: Digit interviews Kaspersky's Harry Cheung

By Jayesh Shinde Published Date
23 - Feb - 2012
| Last Updated
23 - Feb - 2012
Security Snapshot: Digit interviews Kaspersky's Harry Cheung

To give our readers a better understanding of Kaspersky’s products, their philosophy, and their expectations and predictions for the year ahead, we sat down with Mr. Harry Cheung, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab - APAC, in a brief question answer session. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

What’s the one thing about Kaspersky software that none of your competitors have, and what’s the one thing about Kaspersky software that will never change?

At Kaspersky Lab, we have earned quite a reputation for rapid and comprehensive malware detection, as well as small, frequent signature updates. Traditionally, we always have small disk and memory usage, and we have further improved on this feature in our new offering using a mix of cloud and on-the-PC protection. The Hybrid protection model works optimally to ensure protection against known as well as unknown threats. The cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) is always alert to malicious programs and behaviors, constantly watching over users protected by our technology. Because of its advanced threat detection capabilities, KSN immediately knows if any attempt is made to infect any computer. In less than 40 seconds, millions of KSN participants are alerted to the new threat and protected.

We have been technology leaders from day one, and that is our forte. It will continue to be so.

In the latest edition of Kaspersky security software, how do you go about detecting and obliterating malware? Could you help us understand what goes on behind the scenes after a user installs Kaspersky software?

In the current edition, we use Hybrid technology, which is a mix of cloud and on-the-PC protection. The cloud technology (Kaspersky Security Network) has updated details on the threats, and also employs a strong Hueristic methodology to ensure protection against unknown malware. The PC technology ensures very strong protection at the endpoint level. Once the user installs and activates and updates our product, the modules on PC take care of offline protection; and once the user gets online, the KSN gets linked to users’ PC for protection against all Internet-based threats.

The new 2012 versions continue the long tradition of excellence that our home user products have come to be known for. They feature integrated, world-class protection technologies designed to combat even the most complex of threats. At the same time, these products are now simpler and more user-friendly than ever before.

How do you see the malware landscape shaping up in 2012? Any trends or predictions?

We expect to see the following events and trends this year:

• Cybercriminals will be writing mobile malware that primarily targets Google Android.
• Mobile espionage will become widespread; this will include theft of data from mobile phones and tracking people using their telephones and geo-location services.
• Consumerization will be rife with risks and enterprises need to be geared for security threats.
• The number of targeted attacks will continue to grow.
• Attacks on online banking systems will be one of the most widespread methods used to steal money from users.
• Multiple attacks on various government institutions and businesses will be carried out across the world.

According to Kaspersky Lab, which are the top global destinations from where malware originates and the top destinations where malware’s targetted?

India has emerged as one of the top countries generating spam in 2011. Last year, the number of infected computers used for sending spam increased in Asia and Latin America regions. One of the reason is that although internet communications are quickly developing, the level of it security threats awareness among population is very low in these countries. It means that for cybercriminals it is much easier to construct the botnets (networks of infected computers). Moreover India doesn’t have anti-spam legislation.

To improve this situation, definite steps should be made towards:
1) Strong cyber laws, including anti-spam laws development and implementation
2) User education on safe behavior in the internet (updating software, updating anti-virus solution, using of strong passwords etc)

The Internet continues to be the infection point for most malware-affected PCs and devices. So can someone be secure and safe if they just shun the internet and not bother about investing in security software?

We are living in a borderless world, thanks to the Internet. Everything is online, whether it is entertainment, knowledge, people’s social lives (or private lives), business and services, governments, industrial and nuclear systems. We all depend on the internet – and unfortunately, it may be a bit dangerous if we are not ready for what’s next.

The number of targeted attacks will increase.The complexity of the attacks will increase. Every user is a target, every business is at risk, every nation – even the global economyis at risk. The source of an attack could be from hacktivists or vandals, cybercriminals and cyber combatants, armed with cyber weapons. Online crime will be everywhere.

Under such a situation, you need to have security software to stay protected.

Top security vendors including yourself, Norton, McAfee and others, only recently came out with mobile security apps. Is this still a “work-in-progress” or are mobile versions of security apps as powerful as their desktop counterparts?

Mobile security software are evolving products and as the usage of mobile devices goes up for online transactions, we expect to see lot of traction here. The security software for mobiles will also be as dynamic as the AV solutions for PCs.

Out of Kaspersky’s global business pie, currently what slice is occupied by Kaspersky’s mobile apps operation? How important is the mobile business for Kaspersky?

Mobile business is very important as the future is going to be of mobile devices.

Do you plan to equip upcoming tablets and smartphones with pre-loaded Kaspersky Mobile Security suite?

We will unveil our tailored security solution for Android-based tablets - Kaspersky Tablet Security on 28 February at Mobile World Congress 2012, in Barcelona, Spain. The product includes cloud technology support for antivirus technologies, web security and anti-theft protection. It is a specialized security solution that ensures both protection against malicious and fraudulent software, and the inviolability of personal data in case of loss or theft of a device.

How important are OEMs to Kaspersky’s business? What’s the current percentage of software sold through OEM partnerships?
Due to its high level of professionalism and dedication, Kaspersky Lab has become one of the market leaders in the development of antivirus protection. This is reflected in many respected security software developers choosing the Kaspersky Anti-Virus engine to drive their own products, including Alt-N (USA), AdaptiveMobile (Ireland), Blue Coat (USA), Check Point (Israel), Clearswift (UK), CommuniGate Systems (USA), Critical Path (Ireland), D-Link (Taiwan), GFI (USA), IBM (USA), Juniper (USA), Kaseya (Switzerland)), LANDesk (USA), Microsoft (USA), Mobixell (Israel), M86 (USA), Netasq (France), Netgear (USA), Parallels (USA), Safenet (USA), Sonicwall (USA), WatchGuard (USA), and ZyXEL (Taiwan), to name a few. OEM partnerships are definitely important to us.

After Intel acquired McAfee, it has been pushing McAfee on OEM-based laptops and desktop PCs a lot. Has this affected business?

We have a very strong business model, which is driven through our channel partners, and today we are among the fastest growing IT security companies globally.

How does Kaspersky position itself as an end-to-end security solution provider to OEMs to bolster sales and gain wider acceptability of your software?

We are already very popular due to our technology and products. Our technology is used by more than 100 solution products.

Help us understand Kaspersky’s India operations. What’s the setup like and how do you guys tackle the challenge of capturing market share?

We have two offices: Hyderabad and Mumbai with dedicated teams for Retail and Enterprise business. We have established ourselves as a leading player in the country, thanks to our partner network and team.

How important is the Indian market in Kaspersky’s global sales forecast?

It is important, India is a growing country with huge potential so we have very strong focus on the Indian Market.

Any aspect of Kaspersky’s enterprise that you’d like to highlight. Any extraordinary work you’ve been doing over the past year or so?

Other than being malware experts, we also pride doing things differently. Whether it is our association with Ferrari or Sachin Tendulkar, sponsoring Australian Football or supporting Felicity Aston in her expedition, we have always stood out as a brand. Other than supporting sports, we also believe in spreading the message of a safe Internet among students. Our global IT student conference is a case in point that has earned a lot of popularity already.

Any thoughts on branching out from being just a security solution provider?

You will be the first to know when we do so.

All answers credited to Mr. Harry Cheung

Mr. Harry Cheung Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab - APAC


Jayesh ShindeJayesh Shinde

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