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Bamboozling the enemy

Attivo Networks CTO explains the approach the firm takes to keeping hackers and cyber criminals at bay

Attivo Networks CTO Tony Cole is one of those quiet Americans that has spent decades learning his craft the hard way, in the school of the hardest knocks, the US Army.

He was engaged in Land Information Warfare Activity, then spent some years working for the Pentagon, but is now fighting a much tougher battle: trying to rid the Internet of all the cyber fanatics.

Cole left the army but, like many ex servicemen, found it difficult to settle.  Spells at Symantec and McAfee were not quite what he was looking for. Symantec did not see the value in the ‘Honeypot’ strategy in which Cole gained expertise while protecting his country’s servers from invading cyber hordes. The logic of the Honeypot is that you can’t hold all the enemy back, so why not usher them into pens where they can be controlled?

Eventually, Cole jumped into a bunker with Attivo Networks, whose deception technology is exactly the sort of weaponry he likes to deploy against the baddies. Attivo creates replica environments of the ones that hackers are trying to reach when they breach your security.

This bamboozling of the enemy clearly appeals to Cole’s military tactical cunning. Two years on, he and Attivo Networks are finding that there’s a boom in demand for deception weaponry, especially now that the IoT has created so many opportunities for hackers.

Now every sector across the entire industrial and public sector spectrum is busy installing dumb devices - with default password protection - to run every mission critical process. This stupidity, though depressing, presents a massive business opportunity for the UK’s security experts to sell Deception Management to the IoT sector. And indeed, to every other industrial sector and health service that is subject to hackers and hijackers.

Which is why Attivo is busy recruiting security partners in the UK that want to pitch something different around diverting a client’s intruders into a safe area and keeping them occupied. Meanwhile you’ll have shortened the time to detect, deceive and deactivating the cyber intruders by about 98%, according to Cole.

You should get into this as, as Cole says, “Deception is crazy simple.” Simple - like all the best inventions - it may be but it could win resellers huge kudos with their customers.

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