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October 28, 2015

Intel Security EMEA CTO: Fighting a 21st century problem with 20th century tools

C Level briefing: Raja Samani talks to CBR about defending against the industrialisation of cyber crime.

By Charlotte Henry

Intel Security’s EMEA CTO Raj Samani echoes many in his industry when he says that we are seeing "the industrialisation of cyber crime."

"I’ve seen cyber criminals, or cyber crime products tools and services, with a help desk!" he says. "I mean they have an open service chat window!"

Samani raises the issue of the economic consequences of these breaches, highlighting the dramatic drop in share price for TalkTalk after their recent breach as just one example.

"We can talk about Ashley Madison," he says, "but we had a company that was going to floated, on the FTSE by the way, and that was going to be worth what, £150-250m, the cost net cost to the UK economy from that hack? It’s enormous. And we’re not focussing on those questions."

He says that "we’re trying to fight a 21st century problem with 20th century tools."

Samani says his company is one of the key players in the fight: "Being of size you have intelligence and telemetry and an understanding of the threats."

As well as protecting its customers commercially, the firm is working with government agencies: "We were one of the first companies that signed a public-private partnership with the European Cyber Crime Centre. We did that with the National Crime Agency, you saw that recently as well."

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So is the government itself doing enough to tackle this issue? "We’ve seen some incredible innovation coming out of the UK government," Samani says. "I’m a massive, massive, massive fan of midata, which is coming out the Department of Business.

"I think the UK government was one of the first governments to recognise the value in personal data, and I’m really encouraged by that. I love the team over at the NCA. I think what they’ve been doing has been just groundbreaking."

He also points to Cabinet Office investment and the development of the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) as positive developments.

Intel Security General Manager Chris Young has signalled a big play for his firm into cloud computing during the FOCUS 15 conference, something Samani is passionate about. The fear though is that migrating to the cloud makes firms, Intel Security’s customers, more vulnerable to cyber crime.

However, Samani says that "the challenge isn’t necessarily well is the cloud more inherently secure or less inherently secure."

"The challenge becomes do you have the tools the mechanisms to be able to make those informed decisions, and do the appropriate due diligence when you are migrating your services over a to a third party."

"The use of certification standards is key," he says.

Ultimately though, for Samani, "It’s not about security. It’s never been about security. It’s about trust."


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