Real cyberthreats lie in our mobile devices – experts

Zimperium founder sets up $1.5m program to fight cybercrime that exploits smartphones

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Check Point Software's founder Gil Shwed speaking at CyberTech 2017. (Courtesy, Gilad Kavalerchik)
Check Point Software's founder Gil Shwed speaking at CyberTech 2017. (Courtesy, Gilad Kavalerchik)

Itzhak Zuk Avraham, the founder of Zimperium Inc., a mobile cybersecurity company that creates defenses against mobile device intrusions, said he is earmarking $1.5 million for a program to allow researchers, scientists and communication companies to tackle cellphone-related cybercrime.

The real threat today, he said, is inside everyone’s pockets: our cellphones. These have continuously active microphones and cameras which are constantly transmitting and always available, but are without adequate protection.

“Why aren’t there enough companies providing mobile protection?” he asked rhetorically. “This is a complex market with high entry barriers. Providing protection solutions is a complicated task.”

Avraham, who formerly worked in the Israeli army as a security researcher and set up the San Francisco, California-based Zimperium in 2011, spoke on Wednesday at the CyberTech 2017 conference, held for the fourth year in Israel and said to be the second-largest conference and exhibition center of cyber technologies in the world.

Itzhak Zuk Avraham, founder of Zimperium, speaking at CyberTech 2017 (Courtesy: Gilad Kavalerchik)
Itzhak Zuk Avraham, founder of Zimperium, speaking at CyberTech 2017 (Courtesy: Gilad Kavalerchik)


Cybercriminals are seeing an opportunity to “prey on victims” by attacking mobile devices, and increasing the number and sophistication of threats, McAfee said in its 2016 Mobile Threat Report.

“We expect to see this trend continue,” the report said, requiring more diligence and awareness by both the security industry and end users. “We think this will become even more complex as consumers bring connected devices into their homes and use more wearables.”

Gil Shwed, the founder and CEO of Israel’s Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a provider of hardware and software for IT security worldwide with a market value of over $17 billion, said at CyberTech on Tuesday that mobile devices are the “backdoor” to the core infrastructure of companies and are under daily attack.

Some 99 percent of organizations still don’t have protections for mobile security. Ninety-six percent of organizations don’t use advanced prevention firewalls and 98% of companies worldwide don’t use cloud security, he said.

This is mainly because the managers of companies and organizations have false confidence in their security.

“We are under constant attack,” Shwed said. But organizations and institutions are not responding appropriately.

Though the world today tends to deal with threats as they arise, the right approach is to build one comprehensive system to identify and block threats.

“The correct approach is to develop and build a single, standard cybersecurity system that would handle the various types of threats against the cloud, against mobile devices and against data centers and computer systems,” Shwed said. “The key word is prevention – preventing cyberattacks, and in order to develop systems for preventing cyberattacks, intelligence should be collected regarding the various attackers. The architecture should be developed and various cybersecurity technologies should be integrated into a single system that would be offered to the clients and provide them with effective protection against attacks aimed at the cloud, mobile devices, data centers and computer systems.”

Most Popular
read more: