Safety Detective: What have your cybersecurity challenges been?
Akam Omer: It has been a very big challenge for me, especially because in the Kurdistan Region, most of the top management is not familiar with decisions related to dedicating the budget for security. Most of my challenges are with the people, not with the technology. In the last 10 years, most of the time I have been in the fight with the people who are in control of the budget to dedicate some money for the organization regarding security products. For example, they do not like to spend money on security products like firewalls, licenses for antivirus, and backup and business availability.
Secondly, most of the people here use free antivirus or crack versions, or none at all, so not having antivirus doesn’t matter that much for most of the people here.
SD: What are some services that Standing Tech offers?
AO: We have cybersecurity or information security—including physical, printed, or digital—for protecting digital information or present information. Regarding network security, this is one of the parts like firewalls and protecting the network by implementing this of the practices and later provide the client-side or enterprise version of antivirus for organizations—small, medium, or any type. Can And we have an awareness program which comes with security products for any organization.
SD: What keeps your company ahead of the competition?
AO: The skills of our engineers and their awareness regarding the risks of security and the products we provide. This allows us to be ahead of most of the companies. For every project, there must be security in parallel from the beginning of the project life cycle. There must be a security consideration; from start to end for each project related to information technology.
SD: What would you say are the worst cyberthreats out there today?
AO: The most common threat that I face is phishing especially from comprised accounts from organizations. This happens every day. For example, you are visiting a malicious site and you download something. Then your email will be compromised by the attacker and they will send phishing emails to your friends. They will reply to all your emails and send malicious links to other people.
And then there’s malware; about 90% of the computing devices of this region are infected with any type of malware—botnet, keylogger, Trojan. I have found most of the types using an antivirus; I found hundreds of viruses.
Another threat is ransomware. I have a record of around 100 cases in this region in the last three years.
And the last type is social engineering.
SD: How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic is going to affect cybersecurity for the future?
AO: Because of the usability and the increase of the demand for digital platforms, security will play a big role in the next decade. Security must be part of all the products. For example, if you purchased Windows or any other platform for your device or Android or any products from Mac or Linux, a security product must come with it. There must be no device without a security product because it will damage your data or important sensitive information on a personal level or for any organization.