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Twitter breach a big lesson for all sectors on cyber security preparedness: Saket Modi

Considering our dependence on technology in both personal and professional life, it is not the prettiest of the times when it comes to digital security today, says Co-Founder & CEO, Lucideus.

What do you make of this news flow coming in about the high profile Twitter account hack. What does this essentially mean for the digital space and the sector?
I think it sends a very strong signal; not only to one sector which is technology, but to every sector. You now also have banks which are into technology companies through their financial services. You also have manufacturing companies that are saying they are technology companies. The reason I bring that up is because Twitter, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley is the new age technology company which is built on the premise of using technology to reach its customers from the ground. It has the best engineers from Stanford and MITs of the world. It has the best infrastructure on the cloud that a company would actually dream of if it is lower on the Fortune 500 list.

Now even after all of that, you see this very major breach and it is the integrity of Twitter where that has been compromised. Not one, but multiple of their employees were systematically attacked and successfully breached. Through the access that they had, they could just go ahead and update the accounts of anybody and everybody on Twitter. We actually saw so many of these verified big, large profile accounts being breached and it is a very serious matter. So I would say the bigger deal is not for the technology sector as such but for every sector. Technology sectors and digitally native companies are being breached and nobody gets caught. There has been more than $ 100,000 impact, which is more than half a crore rupees within three hours.

So it is not just the IT sector but it is really a bigger message for all other sectors because if the IT sector is not prepared, imagine what the other sectors will be doing for sophisticated attacks like this.

This hack could have actually been much bigger. You have got the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill whose accounts were compromised. Just imagine the massive scale at which this hack attack could have been carried out. Do you think this entire dependency on digital is also one of the reasons why it has become a hackers paradise?
I am a geek and a nerd and I unfortunately see this with a lot of excitement. Just to correct what you mentioned in the beginning, the accounts of Jeff Bezos or Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates were not directly breached but the users or the employees of Twitter who had access to their account were breached and that is a bigger deal than just five accounts or 10 accounts being breached. Twitter today has more than a billion accounts and any account on twitter was potentially breachable. We still do not know the extent of the breach; whether it was just the tweets that would go out or even the direct messages and if those users were compromised and if hackers had access to that. Of course that is an ongoing thing.

But to the second part of your question around the dependence of digital, I think that is the only way forward. That is the reason why it is very important and that is the reason why World Economic Forum recently came out with the survey that cyber security has become the number one manmade worry in the boardroom in CEOs around the world because this is just a tip of the iceberg and what comes out in the media and in the space of cyber security.

We have hundreds of customers around the world. I can tell you, it is less than 1% of what is known or reported cyber crime breaches. What actually happens is far more but very little really comes out in the media. We can expect a lot of attacks in the near future; not just on technology companies but a lot of digital banking platforms. I am by no means trying to do fear mongering here but because we have a lot of customers, I know how vulnerable a lot of them are. Considering our dependence on technology in both personal and professional life, it is not the prettiest of the times when it comes to digital security today.

Any new platform that comes in does its own security checks. Do you think investment into security and upgradation is something which will increase going ahead; like over the next five, six years? Do you think a significant portion of their revenues would actually go into investment of security and upgradation?
It has to because anything that becomes the number one worry of the CEO and the board, naturally the investment there goes up. To support it with facts, I run a 200-member cyber security. We are 15 days into a new quarter. The last quarter was the best quarter we have had in the history of our company. The reason I am bringing that up is because this clearly shows the renewed focus on cyber security in the board rooms. Irrespective of the industry you belong to, the reliance on technology is now very high and technology is no longer a back office automation tool. It is something that today you have to use to survive in this market.

When your reliance on that becomes so high, you need a very objective quantified way of looking at cyber security; not just a red, yellow, green or not just a once in a year report. So how can you go ahead and make it a very metrics-driven conversation? That is where cyber risk quantification comes into the picture. I think that is a thing of the future and it is here to stay now in the new normal in a post-Covid era that is there.

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