Interview with Rick Deacon
Have you ever dealt with malware downloads, credit card phishing scams, or even CEO impersonation attacks? Phishing and malware are still massive problems for companies and individuals.
Rick Deacon is a passionate thought-leader on all topics of information security and founded his own company, Apozy, in 2013 with the idea of fixing these unresolved issues on cybersecurity.
Apozy is a cybersecurity platform that nullifies phishing, malware and impersonation attacks. It assists Fortune 500 companies to secure their organization. The aim of the company is to build compelling security products and stop damage from occurring.
Check out our exclusive Q&A session with Rick:
What is the main cybersecurity threat to large corporations? And how does Apozy tackle it?
The main cybersecurity threat to large corporations is essentially social engineering, fishing and malware. In the recent years, those basic attacks have evolved into other things like spear phishing which is a very tactical targeted email or form of communication to a person that’s being impersonated as someone else. You essentially pretend to be an IT admin inside of a company sent to an employee trying to convince them to do something: click a link and give up credentials, download a virus or a malware. Those are still by far the largest attacks, because they rely on the weakest link inside of security which is the human. What Apozy does is to stop those attacks inside of the browser, so that when you receive an email that has a fishing link or spear phishing link, or if an ad network gets compromised and is delivering malware, now called malvertising, our product is able to prevent the person to type in his credentials or download the virus. We do it inside the browser, where the majority (over the 90%) of these attacks come from, a place where most of the people are not focusing.
As Apozy continues to grow, what is your primary goal for the platform?
The goal for Apozy as a platform is to grow and become the solution for any browser-based cybersecurity problems. We want to be able to protect every single person’s browser from every single problem that could come up, whether that’d be fishing or malware or malvertising or even cryptocurrency miners injected into your browsers through websites, using your GP resources to mine crypto for the owner of the site. As we grow we want to be able to provide full solutions as we already do to solve all those problems. On the other side, we want to be able to collect and distribute the data back to the company about all the negative and potentially malicious browsers that happens, so our product is uniquely positioned to protect everyone and give visibility to the attacks happening inside of the browser. As times goes on, we are going to continually adapt to make performance improvements to create more secure environment. We want to be able to make triggers for system administrators for security and eventually present the collected data in a public way and make this platform something that anyone can benefit from.
Before founding Apozy, you acquired vast experience in the security field. What was the most important thing you learned during your time as a security analyst?
The most important thing I learned as a security analyst before I founded Apozy was actually the ability to understand what security was as a whole. Security into an environment is typically focused around a couple of things, for instance, first and foremost so ever is the return on investment. Security is always a cost center so companies have to have a real reason why they should implement something with security before they'll do it and if it costs more.
Can you tell us about the choice to make Apozy a browser extension?
I decided to make Apozy a no-hack browser extension based on a couple of reasons. The main one is that a lot of companies now install what is called an "agent", a full program that gets installed on a machine in order to do security related things like block malware, manage emails, scan things and report data back for network analysis, etc. Those are all very important, however, people can break it during updates something or having issues other issues, so we created Apozy as a no-hack browser extension with the idea that it would have been extremely simple to deploy, manage and update.
What challenges have you encountered as a B2B security platform?
The biggest challenge that we have you encountered as a B2B security platform is that companies often times move slow in this market. As a startup selling B2B, especially in security, there is a lot of skepticism around what is built. It is actually a function of some of the other people in the industry, like building products that don't live up to what they say. A lot of security companies come up with "snake oil" security products and that hurts companies like ours, that are trying to sell a real, legitimate product. I am not saying that to cross the board, but that's a problem that we have encountered. The sales took a long time to go through skepticism and lots of decisions.