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In times of a global pandemic, the digital world supports us tremendously by keeping the world connected whilst we practice social distancing.

However, what has been overlooked is the increasing online threats that suggest economies are not ready to go completely digital. Japan has had many reasons to focus on the security of the nation’s cyber defences. Increasing public worry of cyberattacks have been prevalent, and this is also due to low confidence in their government’s preparedness for dealing with an attack of this kind.

As such, Computer Futures held a virtual cybersecurity meet-up hosted by Gino Bautista, along with industry experts to discuss COVID-19 attacks, ransomware, the future of network security and implications for companies.

Below is an overview of the session by covering the future of network and security as well as threat intelligence and threat actors to be aware of.

The Future of Network and Security

Netskope's Shiraishi shared his view on the future of network and security with its main focus on Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and spoke about the rise of SASE and the challenges ahead.

The topics covered in his sharing include:

  • What is SASE and why the rise in demand?

SASE is a concept introduced by Gartner. Simply put, it is an integration of a network and its network security. Since a clear definition of SASE has yet to be established because it’s such a new concept, each vendor's SASE offerings can thus vary greatly. But what remains typical for SASE is the fact that it’s based on the premise of zero trust – meaning all communication, internal or external, cannot be trusted. It inherits a security model that requires authentication each time and adopts to the increasing complexity of network and traffic that we see nowadays rather than the traditional perimeter network.

  • Challenges of SASE solutions

As mentioned above, as vendors offer varying SASE solutions, each company will need to find a solution that fits their organisation and meets their objectives. Some solutions can be "patched together" by function as a result of acquiring other systems but they can be hard to manage and operate so it’d be better to check all requirements beforehand.

  • Benefits of SASE to users

One of is the efficiency from both time and cost-savings. Another benefit, especially valuable these days, is its capability to address threats to its network security in remote working conditions. As SASE is expected to emerge as a go-to security solution in the future, bringing security cloud to SASE is their current focus.

You can see the more detailed report on his presentation from here.

Threat intelligence and the importance of knowing your ‘attackers’

In Jarkoff’s sharing, he highlighted the need to ‘know your adversaries’. Businesses tend to focus on the execution of defence against cyberattacks, but fail to understand the motivations behind such attacks. As such, this causes them to be more reactive, rather than preventive when tackling cyberattacks.

As ransomware and e-crime continues to proliferate and expand their reach, Jarkoff highlighted key takeaways for businesses to take note today:


Types of threat actors you should be aware of

  1. Nation state threat actors
  2. E-crime threat actors
  3. COVID-19 themed intelligence


Types of activities that may trigger cyberattacks across the globe

  1. Made in China 2025
  2. Global COVID-19 Vaccine Race
  3. Circus Spider – e-crime in Asia Pacific (APAC)

If you are keen to find out more, read the full article here.

Q&A session

The speakers also addressed the questions from the attendees after their knowledge sharing session.

  • How are ransomware payments treated by law enforcement authorities in Japan? Are you allowed to pay them?

Jarkoff: There’s nothing stopping anyone from paying for ransomeware. In fact, some of them can be very sophisticated so the answer is yes – you can pay the ransom but it has to be a business decision. Businesses must make a risk-based decision on whether or not it’s worth paying the ransom or rebuilding an entire network from ground up.

  • Do you think COVID-19 is changing the way of attack and TTP (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) adopted by adversary groups?

Jarkoff: No, it’s not changing. Majority of the attacks are sphere phishing or phishing that are usually done via email.  COVID-19 is just another way or theme that can be used to get people to click on the attachment and not necessarily changes TTP.

  • What industries in Japan have the greatest need for your cloud security solution? Can you give an example of a customer and the problems you guys have helped to solve?

Shiraishi: We don’t necessarily see one specific industry having a need for our solution. It’s across the board and depends on their levels of cloud adoption. Any company that uses cloud and understands its threat feels the need for Netskope solutions. Recently, a bank and a financial institution have deployed our solution. Our customers appreciate that it’s so much easier to track and visualise all the access log when using Netskope’s solution as every session goes through there. Without it, tracking all the access logs can be very bothersome as they need to go into every cloud system to get that data.

Another successful case was an organisation with a leaver. Our solution enabled them to detect an employee who was downloading all of their data and trying to upload them to other places before they leave and hence successfully prevented the data breach beforehand.

  • What are the challenges you face when speaking to your customers? How does Netskope stand out from your competitors in the market?

Shiraishi: In terms of challenges, a lot of early stage education on cloud adoption needs to be done for customers before introducing our solution. In many cases, our Japanese customers don’t have Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) or Information Security Department in the organisation, so they may be one step behind compared to their counterparts in other countries. What differentiates Netskope from other players in the cloud security space is our strong emphasis on security and protection of data. There are many cloud base network products, but the strong emphasis isn’t on the security aspect.


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