Private Internet Access: What drew you to cybersecurity and what do you love about it?
Ziv Cohen: I’ve been in cybersecurity for about 24 years now, even before it was called cybersecurity. I was actually quite fascinated, because when I started, it was still mostly about networking and the very beginning of securing networks. It really attracted me as, first of all, security is vital; it’s something that every organization needs to have in place. Otherwise, the business simply cannot run because there are always attackers looking to either penetrate and cause havoc, whether for financial gain or information. Security is definitely one of the areas which is changing dynamically, with good and bad guys always trying to challenge the system. This cat and mouse game and the need to be constantly creative, is what pulled me into cybersecurity, and later on, financial fraud and financial crime. Cybersecurity has always been and will always be relevant.
PIA: Tell me what your company does.
ZC: Paygilant operates in the new banking landscape. Banking and payments have changed, with COVID accelerating this transition. Everything is going digital, cashless, cardless, and mainly mobile, because most of the people use their mobile for their day-to-day activities, as well as banking.
Traditional or legacy anti-fraud solutions are simply not designed to meet the requirements of neobanks, challenger banks, mobile wallets, the new FinTech world. Paygilant specializes in addressing fraud threats for this market, but at the same time, it is also designed to reduce the friction. We help FinTech companies avoid money loss as a result of fraud attacks. It is done in a very seamless manner to enable a much better user experience and also in a very quick and easy implementation. This way they can get protected very quickly as opposed to going through very cumbersome, long-term, and expensive deployment projects.
PIA: Why do you think individuals and companies need a good VPN?
ZC: VPN is a great way to protect yourself, whether you’re a company or an individual, because your devices and resources are not directly exposed to the internet. We know that once you’re only, you’re immediately exposed to threats, attacks, and attackers who have easy access to your resources via your phone or your computer, from which they can pull all your personal information. Once you use a VPN and especially one with more defenses, you’re more protected because it becomes more difficult for someone to get access to your personal information.
Secondly, especially related to companies, is the fact that you can connect all your network from one single point rather than opening your entire network and every one of the employees, computers, and devices directly to the internet. When you use a VPN, you’re basically consolidating all your traffic through one point and this point can be protected in a much easier and more effective manner. The reason is that you only have one gateway to protect, rather than many different devices, which you must protect individually. And, of course, the security level increases dramatically when you use a VPN to access any resource outside of your organization.
PIA: What do you think are the worst cyberthreats out there today?
ZC: To start with, it’s social engineering because the human factor is always the weakest link and cybercriminals exploiting that through social engineering, phishing, personal information, which is publicly out there, especially with social media where people are exposing and disclosing their private information. Whether it’s an individual’s information or company, once this leaks outside of the organization and it reaches the hands of the attackers, then it’s much easier for them to plan the attack, locate, and identify the vulnerabilities, and then launch it against the organization. Their operation is very, very professional. There are various people, teams and functions within this fraudulent operation, that are all tuned, geared towards launching an attack against a bank, a payment company, or any other organization.
Of course, the biggest cyberattack threat when comes from governments. Governments have all the resources, the knowledge, and the capabilities to launch attacks against each other, or against the private sector in order to get information that is valuable to them, which they can use to serve their own targets and purposes—politically, or any other reason.
PIA: How is the pandemic changing the way cybersecurity is being handled?
ZC: The pandemic has dramatically accelerated all digital channels and especially mobile transactions. People were locked down for a very long time, without being able to go outside and use cash or cards. There was a very rapid transition towards digital channels, which means that the volume of transactions is much higher. This opens huge opportunities for fraudsters since they have more victims to target and much more money to gain. The fact that you have so many people now using challenger/Neo banking and eWallets to pay online and transfer money, attracts fraudsters and cyber attackers to gain financial value or information.