APAC a lucrative region for threat actors
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Fortinet’s Senior Director of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong looked beyond his organisation’s revenue growth to highlight its key strength – its growing number of patents. Peerapong Jongvibol; known also as Pete; said, “We have more than 50 products within the portfolio that covers a broad base of the solutions that we are giving the market today.”
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He said what Fortinet offers today addresses different areas in terms of security-driven networking, and added that network and security used to be approached as separate concepts.
“Today, I think we have to converge security and network to make it more efficient, to be able to deploy security policies that covers end-to-end from end users, to devices, to applications, and networking.”
Fortinet proposes it is able to protect traffic communications across different environments, while maintaining zero-trust access – securing devices, recognising devices, and allowing them to access information they are authorised to.
Fortinet also has threat intel presence in Singapore, in the form of FortiGuard Labs. Jess Ng, country manager of Singapore and Brunei, described the lab as their threat intel function that processes millions of security events per day, and is able to track down breaking threats (before they) emerge.
“Our latest threat intel; which is aligned with CSA’s report; sees up to 40-percent of crime in Singapore are cyber in nature,” Jess said. The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore is a government agency of Singapore nominally under the Prime Minister’s Office
These cybercrimes are financially motivated and the intel suggests threat actors are going after bigger organisations that can yield higher returns from an attack. Ransomware has had a 150-percent year-on-year growth.
Proliferation of IoT devices has also led to a huge uptake of botnets, as much as 300-percent.
Evolving threat landscape
Jess observed the accelerated digital initiatives that organisations have embarked upon. She opined; as have many cybersecurity professionals and execs; that this has increased the challenge for organisations to secure their environments.
The remote workforce and array of machines they use for work, has resulted in a much expanded attack surface and new (network perimeter) edges emerging. Different tools brought in to manage this, usually results in a more complex environment that is increasingly harder to maintain.
Besides targetting manufacturing, retail, and healthcare industries, attackers see APAC as a lucrative region which contributes about 22-percent to global trade activities. Jess said, “One in three viruses globally, attacks (companies in) APAC.”
So, how is Fortinet helping their customers go online and stay secure?
Jess shared, “We totally integrated our security architecture into network infrastructure. An SD-WAN is definitely the right way forward for customers, so that it’s not just about staying connected, but staying connected in a secure manner.”
OT and IT
The main result of operational technologies converging with information technologies, is that devices and machines do not exist in just air-gapped environments. Jess said, “This convergence really exposes new risks. If left unattended the network will be vulnerable.”
Protections for each type of technology may have to integrate together as well.
Too many point products
Customers are seriously considering vendor consolidation, as there are simply too many tools to use, and visibility across their IT environment is lost.
Jess opined that they way forward is a fabric platform that can restore visibility, reduce time to mitigation, and provide lower total cost of ownership.
Lack of skills
Fortinet wants to provide free training for their Network Security Expert programme, in Singapore and also worldwide.
Supporting a dispersed remote workforce
Adopting a zero-trust approach is the way forward so when at-risk employees connect their machines to the corporate network, there are security controls in place.
Jess concluded Fortinet’s observations of customers with, “Fighting against cybercrime is a team sport. It involves working closely with our customers, government bodies, cybersecurity partners, associations, law enforcement like Interpol, to mitigate this risk.”