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Against phishing, the Proofpoint solution

It is with pleasure that today we speak with Luca Maiocchi, Italian Country Manager of Proofpoint, about a very interesting solution that acts on widespread threats, thanks to a predictive system. Today we focus on phishing.

proofpointMany of us are used to thinking “it won't happen to me”, but threats like these are increasingly complex and widespread, taking advantage of the victim's lack of attention. Proofpoint's solution, to counter this attack, is innovative and decisive in the management of the work activities of companies that are often hit by phishing.

1) What are the Cyber Security urgencies today?

We have seen an important change, with a high percentage of employees switching to remote working for the first time. Working remotely 100% of the time is different from working from home once or twice a week. More attention is needed, especially with regard to the links that are opened and the funds that are transferred. Because working remotely often means not having the same protections as you have in the office, and it's not easy to talk to colleagues or partners to verify the authenticity of a payment request. For many users, there will be protocols, online tools, and communications they are unfamiliar with, and it is precisely this lack that hackers seek to exploit. To address this scenario effectively, companies must equip themselves with advanced security solutions and multi-level, but also put in place training programs extended and recurring.

2) What is a typical attack about always lacking attention?

The threat we are talking more today is the ransomware. Organizations of all types and sizes have been affected, with very significant economic damage. There are technological measures that allow you to protect yourself from ransomware or to limit its damage, such as the implementation of regular backup processes. But how does ransomware enter the business? Typically with a message, a dangerous e-mail attachment or a malicious link to click on - the latter element particularly dangerous because it can arrive through any messaging channel - e-mail, but also Whatsapp, instant messaging or SMS - and not contain malware itself.

3) How Proofpoint acts on a malicious phishing attack?

Proofpoint has always worked for the security of corporate communications, with the aim of protecting organizations from all forms of malware coming from outside. For this reason, we have a series of tools that allow company to detect potentially dangerous messages, because they come from untrusted or unverified senders. But we also work on the individual user, on the training of the recipient of this type of dangerous messages. With over 99% of cyber threats that require human interaction in order to be effective, the ability to prepare employees on the subject of cybersecurity and the importance of appropriate behavior and respect for company policies is essential.

4) What are three Proofpoint's strengths?

The differentiating factor of Proofpoint has always been the attention to cybersecurity with a vision centered on people and the focus on solutions that protect the VAPs (very attacked people) of an organization. We pay particular attention to the human factor, which is almost always decisive when it comes to IT protection and potential damage. We have a training platform designed specifically to raise the level of security of organizations through customized learning and verification processes, which can be implemented on a recurring basis.

5) Today one of the most important things is our data, what are the potential of Proofpoint within the Cloud environment?

Data is the most important asset for any organization, of any size and sector. As the shift to the cloud increases, it becomes critical to protect these assets wherever they are. Proofpoint recently released Information Protection and Cloud Security, a cloud native solution that combines enterprise-grade data loss prevention (DLP), insider threat management, cloud app security broker (CASB), zero trust network access, browser isolation and a web security solution cloud native, to ensure maximum protection for critical assets located in the cloud.

6) Artificial intelligence has made solutions against cyber attacks more efficient, but on the other hand, attacks have also become more complex, how does Proofpoint intervene in this challenge?

One of the constants we see on the cybersecurity landscape is the growing sophistication of attacks, from a technological but also an organizational point of view. Hackers today study their targets before hitting them in an increasingly targeted way, with messages that seem legitimate. The individual user is often at the forefront of this battle against cybercrime, perhaps under pressure he has to decide whether or not to take a certain action. Proofpoint offers the user a series of additional tools to deal with these situations, from tools for verifying messages and their senders to personalized training and awareness courses.

7) The use of technology and networking have become a daily routine for many people today, but the human factor has made systems more vulnerable, what role does training play in this situation?

Hybrid work environments represent a new long-term challenge for CISOs: 53% of Italian CISOs agree that remote work has made their organization more vulnerable to targeted attacks, and 58% observed an increase in last 12 months. Working remotely, you often don't have the same security controls you have in the office, and the same level of attention and compliance can be lower. In this context, training and awareness play an even more important role, because they push the individual employee to ask himself a series of questions, before carrying out a potentially dangerous action, effectively protecting his systems, and with them those of the entire organization. . The level of corporate IT knowledge is still a source of concern: 63% of Italian CISOs believe that their organization is not prepared to face a targeted cyber-attack in 2021.

8) How does awareness help even those who are not "experts in the sector"?

First of all, we must say that security does not only concern expert in the sector, or who has a technical role in the company. The security posture of a company depends on the behavior of each of us, regardless of role. We have developed the concept of VAP, Very Attacked Person, which are the figures most often attacked within a company. These are different figures, they can be administrative or business line managers, or simply people who, due to their role, have access to sensitive data and systems, and who do not necessarily have technical training, on the contrary. The aim of the training is precisely to create awareness, to show each individual employee how important their role is in protecting the company and its systems, because the security of each organization also and above all depends on the behavior of individuals. User awareness is fundamental: for 50% of Italian CISOs, human error is still the greatest IT vulnerability of their organization. Among the most likely ways of risk for the company, CISOs have listed insecure passwords (not changed or reused), intentional data leakage, and phishing emails.

9) Advice for more careful management for effective IT security?

Effective cyber defense requires a combination of people and technology to be successful. With the rise of pandemic-focused phishing attacks, it is imperative that companies invest in modern email security solutions to detect and block as many threats as possible. We recommend that organizations prioritize a people-focused security approach - employees, customers, and partners -, including multi-layered network edge, email gateway, cloud and endpoint defenses, coupled with strong user training.

Luca Maiocchi
Country Manager Italy – Proofpoint

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