Securing information in a boundless world is virtually impossible: Debasish Mukherjee, Vice President, Regional Sales APAC, SonicWall Inc

Leading global Cybersecurity player SonicWall recently launched its 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report — full of research on cybercriminal behavior, industry trends and insight on what 2022 might have in store. In an exclusive interview with Express Computer Debasish Mukherjee, Vice President, Regional Sales APAC, SonicWall Inc shares the significance of this report and its impact on Indian Incs

Can you take us through the key highlights of the SonicWall Cyber Threat Report 2022 and its major significance to Indian companies?

The 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report is the world’s most comprehensive ransomware threat intelligence report; published on a bi-annual basis. SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers gather, analyze and vet cross-vector threat information from the SonicWall Capture Threat Network, consisting of global devices and resources, including more than 1 million security sensors in nearly 215 countries and territories.

The report shows an unprecedented acceleration of ransomware attacks globally.  As we become more dependent on information technology, cyberattacks become more attractive and potentially more disastrous. Securing information in a boundless world is virtually impossible, especially as the boundaries of organizations are ever-expanding to limitless endpoints and networks. Some highlights are:

  • 682% increase in ransomware attack YoY across Asia
  • India witnessed an exponential 981% increase of ransomware attacks in 2021 (2020- 388,461compared to 2021- 4,198,632)
  • Over 623 million ransomware attacks globally, an astounding 105% increase from last year
  • Ransomware volume increased 232% since 2019
  • S., U.K. ransomware climbed staggering 98% and 227%, respectively
  • Log4j vulnerability exploits eclipsed 142 million in six weeks
  • 65% increase in ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants identified
  • Encrypted threats increased 167% year-over-year
  • Record 97.1 million cryptojacking attacks found
  • S., U.K. ransomware climbed staggering 98% and 227%, respectively

Today’s globally cybercriminals demonstrate deliberate reconnaissance, planning and execution – the approach is much more targeted than in the past. The overall impact means more victims and higher ransoms. Security and risk leaders should look to adopt endpoint detection and remediation (EDR) and network detection and response (NDR) tools that will ultimately improve SecOps teams’ visibility. This will help organizations monitor and detect user, app, device and network behavioral patterns.

The report said India witnessed an exponential 981% of ransomware attacks in 2021 (2020- 388,461compared to 2021- 4,198,632). Keeping that in mind, how would you assess the overall preparedness in the scenario that we are in?
We find that to address the ever growing security challenges, more and more organizations are migrating away from traditional security solutions like Firewall that focus only on stateful packet inspection (SPI) and access control rules to next-generation firewalls. New Gen Firewall’s (NGFW) have transformed network security by providing more robust protection against emerging threats. In addition to traditional firewall features, NGFWs feature a tightly integrated intrusion prevention system (IPS), real-time decryption and inspection of TLS/SSL sessions and full control and visualization of application traffic as it crosses the network.

SonicWall remains dedicated to offering innovative solutions that meet the specific needs of its global customers across industry segments, starting with firewall protection and expanding to encompass a wide range of solutions under the umbrella of Boundless Cybersecurity, or Cybersecurity Without Limits.

 The report indicates that Asia is a Fertile Ground for Cybersecurity Breaches. Why so?
Across APAC region, we are seeing a huge surge in Digital transformation ; the connection of individuals, companies, and countries to the Internet. This phenomenon has  emerged as the most transformative means to ignite sustainable growth.

Adoption of Internet and mobile technologies  has led to strong economic growth in recent years. Across the region, emerging economies have accelerated their digital transformation so rapidly that they have bypassed certain various stages of technology development – just over the past few years many people across several Asian countries have leapfrogged from not having any Internet access at homes to owning multiple mobile devices and accessing the Internet. For example, estimates from The World Bank indicate 22 percent of Myanmar is now online, compared to less than 2 percent in 2013, opening abundant opportunities for the domestic consumer market.

This above scenario is perfect ground for all sorts of cyber-attacks to occur. Huge gaps in cybercrime legislations in many of the countries and lack of awareness and knowledge of basic security makes most online transactions highly susceptible to digital theft. While the breakneck speed of digital transformation is generally good news, safeguards must be in place alongside to protect users and sustain the burgeoning digital business.

In a business environment where Cybersecurity continues to be one of the highest priorities for all enterprises, the challenges are accentuated by constant changes in regulations, rules, new threats, and the lack of resources.

The solutions to mitigate such challenging situations have to be multifaceted. Building a robust, viable cybersecurity system takes more than technology. It also demands long-term commitment and developing an array of strategic capabilities.

Where do you think is the fundamental issue beyond technology that is the reason for rampant cyber breaches?
Some of the reasons that we see in our line of work that go beyond technology for rise in cyber-attacks in organizations are overall  insignificant or very low cybersecurity awareness, weak regulations and low cybersecurity investments in a robust cyber security solutions. Besides the lack of IT security-related awareness and limited budgets, the skill gap in the cybersecurity domain is another impediment faced by businesses.

We believe that the solutions to mitigate such high threat situations have to be multifaceted. Building a robust, viable cybersecurity system takes more than technology. It also demands long-term commitment and developing an array of strategic capabilities.

India is poor in cybersecurity awareness, growing cross-border data transfers, weak regulations, and low cybersecurity investment? What are the key cybersecurity recommendations SonicWall would make to the Indian CIO/CISO?

As mentioned in the previous questions, it is vital for organizations to continue their ongoing measures of continuous evaluation and adjustments of technology standards, providing security awareness training to employees, and maintaining a security baseline specially today when work from home has become the new work culture. It is also essential for businesses to reassess and stay on top of their security capabilities as they modify operations for the post-pandemic world.

What are the three core pillars of SonicWall cybersecurity?
SonicWall’s  3 decades of strong knowledge base and experience across geographies and industry sections, our robust & viable boundless  cybersecurity solutions and a wide network of channel partners would be our three core strengths.

Debasish MukhSonicWall Cyber Threat Report 2022erjeeRegional Sales APACSonicWall IncVice President
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