Skip to content Skip to footer

Rob Gurzeev, CEO & Co-Founding father of CyCognito – Interview Collection

Rob Gurzeev, CEO and Co-Founding father of CyCognito, has led the event of offensive safety options for each the non-public sector and intelligence companies.

Previous to founding CyCognito, he was Director of Offensive Safety and head of R&D at C4 Safety (acquired by Elbit Methods) and the CTO of the Product Division of the 8200 Israeli Intelligence Corps. Honors that he obtained as an Israel Protection Forces Officer included Award for Excellence, the Artistic Pondering Award and the Supply of Life Award.

CyCognito was based by veterans of nationwide intelligence companies who perceive how attackers exploit blind spots and joined by skilled administration from a number of the most trusted cybersecurity corporations.

What initially attracted you to cybersecurity?

I first grew to become excited about expertise across the age of 13 or 14. I began stepping into IRC channels with folks interested by expertise and what was referred to as “hacking” on the time.

Individuals again then had been experimenting with all types of attention-grabbing issues like cryptography in messenger apps. They had been additionally experimenting with file sharing. Youngsters had been pranking their pals by sending an executable file that may set off a humorous motion of some form. If you concentrate on it, this was the premise for what we at the moment name ‘social engineering’ assaults.

This all made me suppose: what if an individual with unhealthy intentions received a maintain of this expertise for malicious functions? 

These early experiences are what kicked off my profession in safety. I ultimately landed within the Israeli Unit 8200 Intelligence Power doing reconnaissance work, and later co-founded CyCognito. 

May you share the genesis story behind CyCognito?

CyCognito was based on the attention that attackers are at all times forward of defenders. They’re good, relentless and at all times searching for the trail of least resistance. And whereas all attackers want is one weak spot to interrupt by, safety groups need to safe each doable level of entry in an ever-growing, always-evolving assault floor. It’s fairly the problem. 

To compound the issue, most organizations have potential factors of entry unseen by safety groups however simply discoverable by risk actors.

In the future, I sat down with my Co-founder, Dima Potekhin and we got down to shift the paradigm the place as a substitute of deploying brokers or instructing a port scanner to scan a number of recognized IP ranges, we’d create an answer that labored like a world-class attacker, which means it will start figuring out solely an organization’s identify after which proceed to establish the belongings most in danger and essentially the most tempting open pathways. 

We needed to simulate an attacker’s offensive operation, ranging from the first step, the place the attacker is aware of solely the goal firm’s identify and their purpose is to get entry to delicate information.

So, In 2017, we took our nationwide intelligence company expertise and started to make this occur with the mission of serving to organizations forestall breaches, by repeatedly mapping their exterior publicity blind spots and discovering the paths of least resistance into their inner networks. This required leveraging not simply superior offensive cyber information, but additionally fashionable expertise that’s nonetheless fairly not often utilized in our trade, like Bayesian machine studying fashions, LLM, NLP, and graph information fashions.

At the moment, we assist rising and enormous International 100 corporations safe their assault surfaces from rising threats. A few of our purchasers embody Colgate-Palmolive, State of California, Berlitz, Hitachi, Tesco, simply to call a number of.

What’s Exterior Assault Floor Administration?

The textbook definition of Exterior Assault Floor Administration (EASM) refers back to the processes and applied sciences used to establish, assess, and handle the publicity of a corporation’s digital belongings which might be accessible or seen from the web. 

Exterior assault surfaces are huge and complicated. A single group can have a whole lot and 1000’s of methods, purposes, cloud cases, provide chains, IoT gadgets and information uncovered to the Web—usually sprawling throughout subsidiaries, a number of clouds, and belongings managed by third events. 

Safety groups have restricted potential to find these belongings. They’re inundated with 1000’s of alerts, however they don’t have the context to know that are vital and which to prioritize. 

Isolating the actually vital points first requires visibility throughout the assault floor, however much more importantly, it requires a radical understanding of the context and objective of the belongings affected. As soon as that’s established, safety groups can calculate assault paths and predict which particular threats matter—these more likely to trigger severe financial or reputational harm to the enterprise. Then, the group can prioritize appropriately and remediate for max impression.

Are you able to share your views on the significance of considering like an attacker to find unknown dangers?

In line with Verizon’s DBIR, 82% of assaults come from the surface in. Moreover, most breaches in line with Gartner are associated to unknown and unmanaged belongings.

That is exactly why adopting an outside-in strategy to judge your assault floor is vital for assessing and managing cybersecurity threat. Entering into the attacker’s sneakers gives an goal view of the crown jewels that dwell inside your methods and, extra importantly, that are uncovered and weak. 

As I discussed beforehand, assault surfaces are ever-growing and complicated. Most safety groups lack full-spectrum visibility into uncovered and weak belongings. Attackers know this! And they’ll relentlessly discover the assault floor, attempting to find the trail of least resistance and that one hole that safety groups don’t monitor. Sadly, one safety hole is all they want to interrupt in. In the meantime, safety groups have the tough activity of figuring out the exposures that make their organizations most weak, after which taking motion to guard these entry factors. 

How incessantly do you establish threats which might be resulting from exterior purposes and APIs which might be merely not being monitored or examined?

Extra usually than we wish. We lately carried out analysis displaying weak public cloud, cellular and internet purposes exposing delicate information, together with unsecured APIs and private identifiable info (PII). Listed here are a number of the key findings:

  • 74 % of belongings with PII are weak to a minimum of one recognized main exploit, and one in 10 have a minimum of one simply exploitable subject.
  • 70 % of internet purposes have extreme safety gaps, like missing WAF safety or an encrypted connection like HTTPS, whereas 25 % of all internet purposes (internet apps) lacked each.
  • The standard international enterprise has over 12 thousand internet apps, which embody APIs, SaaS purposes, servers, and databases, amongst others. Not less than 30 % of those internet apps—over 3,000 belongings—have a minimum of one exploitable or excessive threat vulnerability. Half of those doubtlessly weak internet apps are hosted within the cloud.
  • 98 % of internet apps are doubtlessly GDPR non-compliant resulting from lack of alternative for customers to choose out of cookies.

Our analysis apart, there’s ample proof of those threats on the market at the moment. MOVEit exploit is a case level, which continues to be ongoing. 

Are you able to talk about the significance of consolidating the processes and instruments to check and handle the assault floor?

‘Stack bloat’ is one thing most enterprises endure from. It’s notably pronounced in safety. Most organizations have siloed, disconnected safety instruments. There was this mantra in safety that extra platforms will remove safety gaps. However as a substitute, it opens up the door for human errors, redundancies, elevated operational load, and blind spots. 

CyCognito was constructed to do the job of many legacy level options. We assist corporations consolidate their stack to allow them to give attention to doing their jobs.

What are some ways in which unhealthy actors are utilizing LLMs and Generative AI to scale assaults?

We have now but to see massive scale assaults utilizing LLMs but it surely’s solely a matter of time. From my perspective, LLMs have the potential to supply larger scale, scope, attain, and velocity to numerous levels of cyberattacks. 

For instance, LLMs have the potential to speed up automated reconnaissance, the place attackers can map and uncover a corporation’s belongings, manufacturers, and companies, together with delicate info corresponding to uncovered credentials. LLMs can even help in vulnerability discovery, figuring out weaknesses inside a focused community, and facilitate exploitation by methods like phishing or watering-hole assaults to realize entry and exploit community vulnerabilities. LLMs can even help in information theft by copying or exfiltrating delicate information from the community.

Additionally, shopper purposes based mostly on LLMs, most notably ChatGPT, pose a risk as they can be utilized each deliberately and unintentionally by workers to leak firm IP.

Spear-phishing campaigns present one other use case. Excessive-quality phishing relies on deep understanding of the goal; that’s exactly what massive language fashions can do fairly properly, as a result of they course of massive volumes of knowledge in a short time and customise messages successfully. 

How can enterprises in flip use Generative AI to guard themselves?

Nice query. That’s the excellent news to all of this. If attackers can use gen AI, so can safety groups. Gen AI may also help safety groups do reconnaissance on their very own corporations and remediate vulnerabilities. They’ll extra rapidly and cost-effectively scan and map their very own assault surfaces to search out uncovered delicate belongings, like private identifiable info (PII), recordsdata, and many others. 

Gen AI can vastly assist perceive the enterprise context of any asset. For instance, it may possibly assist acknowledge a database holding PII and play a job in income transactions. That’s extraordinarily invaluable.

Gen AI can even decide the enterprise objective of an asset. As an illustration, it may possibly assist distinguish between a fee mechanism, a vital database, and a random gadget—and classify its threat profile. This, in flip, permits safety groups to raised prioritize threat. With out the flexibility to prioritize, safety groups need to sift by infinite vulnerabilities labeled ‘pressing’ when most are literally not mission-critical. 

Why ought to enterprises be cautious about being overly reliant on Generative AI for defensive functions?

Generative AI has nice potential, however there are inherent points we’ve to work by as an trade. 

The large image for me is that gen AI fashions could make safety groups complacent. The attract of extra automation is nice, however handbook overview is vital given the state of gen AI fashions at the moment. For instance, gen AI fashions ‘hallucinate’. In different phrases, they produce inaccurate outputs.

Additionally, gen AI fashions (LLMs, particularly) don’t perceive context as a result of they’re constructed on statistical, temporal textual content evaluation—which may additionally result in additional ‘hallucinations’ which might be very robust to identify.

I perceive safety groups are more and more trying to do ‘extra with much less’—however human oversight will (and may) at all times be a part of the safety course of. 

Are you able to talk about how CyCognito gives automated exterior assault floor administration and steady testing?

To not sound like a damaged report however, as I discussed beforehand, assault surfaces are huge and complicated—they usually proceed to develop.

We constructed CyCognito to repeatedly map a whole assault floor past the company core to embody subsidiaries, acquisitions, joint ventures, and model operations—and attribute every to its rightful proprietor. 

There are a number of technical capabilities value highlighting. 

Within the black field assault floor discovery course of, our platform leverages LLM as certainly one of dozens of sources for “attribution hypotheses” that our Bayesian ML fashions analyze to find out the group’s enterprise construction (as much as 1000’s of enterprise items and subsidiaries) and assign belongings to homeowners (on the scale of thousands and thousands of IT belongings) utterly mechanically. 

The platform additionally accelerates asset classification by Pure Language Processing (NLP) and heuristic algorithms—a activity that’s typically expensive and useful resource intensive.

We additionally present the enterprise context essential to prioritize dangers successfully. Even when a vulnerability impacts a thousand machines, CyCognito can establish essentially the most vital one by offering perception into publicity degree, enterprise significance, exploitability, and hacker chatter.

We take a holistic strategy to Exterior Assault Floor Administration which overcomes the entice of treating all vital points with equal urgency. We allow safety to prioritize true vital vectors, saving them money and time.

Thanks for the nice interview, readers who want to study extra ought to go to CyCognito. 

Leave a comment