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Check Point unveils latest strategy to take on GenV attacks

Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Check Point Software.
Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Check Point Software.

Cyberattacks against corporate networks increased by 50% in 2021 compared to 2020, education and research was the most targeted sector, with organisations facing an average of 1,605 weekly attacks and software vendors experienced the largest year-over-year growth, with an increase of 146%.

These are highlights from Check Point Software’s 2022 Cyber Security Report, which coincides with the cyber security company’s CPX360 conference, hosted virtually this week.

In his keynote address entitled: ‘You Deserve the Best Security’, the company’s founder and CEO Gil Shwed opened the event by talking about the company’s major transformation, which came about as a response to the new post-COVID era and the world´s increased dependence on the network.

“Today, more than ever, the online puzzle needs to be secure. The level of sophistication of attacks keeps going up. Gen V attacks are something we experience everyday: supply chain attacks, ransomware threats that can take down an entire hospital or an entire oil pipeline for half of the US, and vulnerabilities like we have just seen last month with Log4j. When we look at 2021, it was one of the most challenging years in terms of cyberattacks."

‘You Deserve the Best Security’ was also the tagline for the company’s new logo and marks a new strategic drive by Check Point to urge organisations to implement comprehensive ‘prevent-first’ security solutions capable of dealing with the cyber pandemic: 

“All of the attacks through 2021, from Solar Winds to Log4J, were Gen V multi-vector attacks. In the face of such threats, organisations can no longer afford to compromise on security. Second best is not enough. Second best doesn’t work. Second best will get you breached,” said Shwed.

The company’s new Quantum Lightspeed firewall technology for datacentres, signals Check Point’s determination to confront the evolving threat landscape in the light of the 50% year-on-year increase in cyber-attacks uncovered in the company’s 2022 security report. The new solution was the result of a collaboration with ASIC developer Nvidia, a company that has a long-standing relationship with Check Point.

“Quantum Lightspeed represents the latest innovation in our Quantum portfolio, and through increased throughput, ultra-low latency and better price performance, aims to kick-start the biggest network security revolution in more than a decade,” said Shwed.

Check Point Chief Product Officer Dr Dorit Dor sees the introduction of the Nvidia GPU, with its enhanced processing power, as a key part of the company’s drive to make great use of AI in securing networks to deliver the best real time prevention of Gen V attacks.

She said, “We need to stay ahead of the emerging threats and for that we need evolving technology that can identify and emerge alongside the threats. So, we are designing AI into our next generation firewall. We see ourselves evolving in terms of how to leverage GPUs in order to accelerate the AI calculation.”

Itai Greenberg, Head of Check Point Product management, spoke about plans in 2022 for the three product pillars. On the network side he outlined developments in the Quantum product family, focusing on the new Quantum Lightspeed gateway, commenting, 

“Quantum Lightspeed redefines price performance. We are giving you over five times the performance of the previous generation of gateway.” On CloudGuard, he looked at the latest developments in securing the cloud DevOps environment while highlighting the fact that Check Point was the only cloud security vendor that gave pre-emptive security protection against the Log4j vulnerability in December 2021.

For end user access he stressed that Check Point Harmony is actually five solutions in one, giving a consistent security experience where others offer multiple products for different types of endpoint threats and vectors.

He also explained how the SASE solution Harmony Connect is ideally suited to mixed security environments of branch networks, remote users and contractors using unmanaged devices, all needing the best level of protection.

Authentication protection

Colin Erasmus, Modern Workplace and Security Business Group Lead at Microsoft South Africa, stated that Microsoft’s threat and data research shows just 22% of Cloud Identity Solution and Azure Active Directory users have implemented strong identity authentication protection

“What would you imagine your username and password are worth to a hacker? According to Microsoft’s latest threat and data research, the average price for 1,000 stolen username password pairs is around $0.97 or R15. What’s more, securing 400 million username and password combinations in bulk will earn a cybercriminal around $150 or R2300. There can be little doubt, cybercriminals have our passwords in their sights. This is particularly the case in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) where businesses are often more prone to cyberattacks than companies anywhere else in the world. In fact, 54 percent of African CEOs are very concerned about the fast-evolving nature of cyberthreats.”

With weak passwords, password spraying, and phishing the entry point for most attacks, identity is the new battle ground of cyberthreats. And for organisations looking to protect themselves, preventing an identity from being misused or stolen, is now the highest priority. 

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