Wed, Sep 19 2018, 7:07 am

Sophos makes strong use of AI in combating ransomware

By Digital Edge Bureau, 15.03.2018, 23:52

Sunil Sharma, MD, Sales, Sophos, India & SAARC: Sophos puts focus on endpoint security software


Anti-ransomware product, Sophos InterceptX, makes greater use of artificial intelligence (AI)

In its endpoint security software avatar—away from its quintessential hallmark of being the leading vendor of network security systems—Sophos has come out to the market with specialized product that is believed to be combating scourge of ransomware and other advanced malware attacks quite effectively. At a press conference organized in New Delhi, Sophos has pitched in the much talked about product called InterceptX, which makes use of the techniques of artificial intelligence (AI) for taking on ransomware attacks, which enterprises and organizations increasingly face today.

Interacting with Digital Edge, Sunil Sharma, Managing Director (MD), Sales, Sophos, India & SAARC, said, “Of late, ransomware attacks have created global havoc, where afflicted firms and organizations are made to pay ransoms by cyber criminals. The severity of the assaults can be gauged by the fact that the affected organizations completely lose their grips on carrying out their operations further as their software applications are literally rendered useless. The instances of WannaCry ransomware attacks on hospitals in London brought down their entire operations to a standstill”. “There have been innumerable instances where ransomware afflicts enterprises. It is this context, we’ve paid special focus on developing truly intelligent security product that would fight against ransomware attacks. We’ve made extensive use of AI techniques in enhancing the efficiency of InterceptX”, added Sharma.

“Since traditional endpoint technologies are often unable to keep up with advanced exploit attacks used to compromise a system, Sophos has added predictive, deep learning capabilities to the newest version of its next-generation endpoint protection product, Sophos Intercept X”, explained Sharma.

In the meantime, Sophos has come out with a report— State of Endpoint Security Today—which highlights the kind of lackadaisical approach firms and organizations take towards combating ransomware.  In India, over 300 companies including SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and larger enterprises have been covered in the survey. The survey concludes that despite the intensity and magnitude of attacks, Indian businesses are still not prepared to defend itself against determined attackers.

“Unlike lightening, ransomware can strike again and again to the same organization. We’re aware of cybercriminals unleashing four different ransomware families in half-hour increments to ensure at least one evades security and completes the attack”, said Sharma. “Today’s persistent cybercriminals are deploying multiple attack methods to succeed, whether using a mix of ransomware in a single campaign, taking advantage of a remote access opportunity, infecting a server, or disabling security software. If IT managers are unable to thoroughly clean ransomware and other threats from their systems after attacks, they could be vulnerable to reinfection. No one can afford to be complacent”, added he.

This relentless attack methodology combined with the growth in Ransomware-as-a-Service, the anticipation of more complex threats, and the resurgence of worms like WannaCry and NotPetya puts businesses in serious need of a security makeover, according to Sophos. In fact, more than 90 percent of Indian IT decision makers surveyed impacted by ransomware were running up to date endpoint protection, confirming that traditional endpoint security is no longer enough to protect against today’s ransomware attacks.

According to those impacted by ransomware last year, the median total cost of a ransomware attack was $133,000. Indian organizations median total cost stood at $1.17mn, the highest, in rectifying the impacts of ransomware. This extends beyond any ransom demanded and includes downtime, manpower, device cost, network cost, and lost opportunities.


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