Imagine developing a code capable of effectively protecting or even ridding all computers of malicious attacks.
Well, a start-up in Israel's silicon valley is aiming to develop that capacity and believes that stopping computer virus is achievable.
Liran Tancman, owner of Cyactive believes it is possible because "viruses are overwhelmingly evolutionary, not revolutionary".
Tancman said “Much of the code found in even major attacks is reused over and over again in new attacks,” adding “There has actually never been a virus that did not draw substantially on malware that was already in existence.”
Cyactive's optimism draws from one conviction that it can stop viruses that are already “in the wild,” currently causing damage and can actually beat most of them even before they are invented, Tancman tells David Shamah of Times of Israel.
No doubt this will rid organisations of dangerous crashes caused by viruses, malware, and trojan horses that cost the world economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
Computer and Internet security is important not just to protect against viruses and malware, but also against hackers who do all they can to infiltrate computer systems and servers, compromising and stealing secrets while polluting others as they do so.
Tancman agrees that at a time hacking has turned into a lucrative business, hackers do all they can to succeed, saying they don’t have time to reinvent the wheel; nor do they have to, as things stand. “The problem is that cyber-security is reactive, not proactive", he said.
But what is the extent of investment and risk to both hackers and targets?
"A company will spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to secure themselves against a major malware variant, fighting off a specific attack, but getting around those defenses is easy for a hacker", he said, adding “All they have to do is insert some changes in their malware code, and they are in the clear."
The inventor said that for spending just $150, a cybercriminal can hire a hacker to do $25 million of damage, and then do it again a few months later, making very minor changes to their malware code.
But how knowledgeable is Liran Tancman and why is he so confidently optimistic?
A former head of Cyber-strategy in an elite IDF intelligence unit, with a decade of experience in Israel’s intelligence corps, Tancman has developed what he believes can become the solution to all malware and viruses, present and future, saying “If we can develop defenses against the core of the malware, the 98% of the code that is just a variant of existing malware, we could end virus attacks for good.”
Cyactive's optimism derives from the smart algorithms they have developed which they claim can explore and analyze malware to see where it came from, and where it is going.
“You can see very clearly what the ‘keychain of exploitation’ is, the methods hackers are using now and the variants they are likely to use,” he said, adding “Even the major attacks of recent years, like Flame, Stuxnet, and others, use a similar core.”
Tancman does not believe that hackers are infitely creative "for hackers, there really is no alternative; they have neither the time, resources, or even skills to build a whole new exploitation keychain that will attack systems from other angles," he said.
Unsurprisingly, the new Start-Up has become a hot toast in Israels silicon valley, and to dispell doubt, Yoav Tzruya, of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and board member of Cyactive tells David Shamah, "This is not pie in the sky."
Tzruya said “We met Liran and his co-founder and CTO Shlomi Boutnaru, and realized we had some special people here,” adding “They are both acclaimed cyber-security professionals who have won major awards. What they are essentially doing is applying the principles of genetic computation to detect the next generation of viruses.”
Established just last year, Cyactive was the first start-up accepted into JVP’s new cyber-security incubator, located in Beersheba. “They just started and already they are candidates for some large investments....This technology is a great example of the cyber-security capabilities being developed in Israel at JVP’s incubator.” Tzruya said.
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