Interview with Dmitry Kurskov - ScienceSoft

Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks

SafetyDetectives spoke with Dmitry Kurskov, the Head of the Information Security Department of ScienceSoft, a leading cybersecurity provider. He talked about how ScienceSoft has evolved, the company and the security challenges IoT devices, and he gave tips for business owners to secure their company data.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you give us a little background on your services?

ScienceSoft started as an AI software product company in 1989 with just 31 employees on the team. Over the years, we have grown to become an international IT company with multiple offices in the US, Europe, and the Gulf region. Having 700+ IT professionals on board, we offer a wide range of services in software development, IT consulting, and cybersecurity.

We entered the cybersecurity domain in 2003. Since then, we have gathered a passionate team of security engineers, compliance consultants, and Certified Ethical Hackers that I am really proud of. With over 200 successfully completed projects in IT security, we stick to our mission, which is to help businesses efficiently respond to the constantly evolving cybersecurity challenges.

How has the company evolved over the last few years, as hackers and cybercriminals have gotten more creative?

In the recent years, ScienceSoft, like many companies worldwide, has adopted remote and hybrid work. Employees working from different locations and devices are often beyond a company’s control, which offers many opportunities to cyber criminals. Having handled the same remote work security challenges here at ScienceSoft, we help other businesses reimagine the traditional cybersecurity architecture that was once designed for centralized internal IT infrastructures. We help create and implement the necessary security policies, procedures, and technology to secure remote access to our customers’ sensitive data and IT assets.

While hackers are often thought of as evil geniuses or well-educated tech geeks, most cyberattacks that companies face are attempted by cybercriminals with average to little technical knowledge. They exploit commonly known security flaws in software and IT infrastructures, crack weak passwords or apply social engineering techniques to get access to sensitive information or admin rights. So, our most urgent task is to protect our customers’ IT environments against these threats. We test their application and networks to proactively identify security vulnerabilities. We help enforce secure authentication mechanisms, implement and configure the necessary security tools, including those for phishing protection, raise employees’ cybersecurity awareness, etc.

Plus, as a new technology – for example, cloud, IoT, blockchain – starts gaining popularity, it tends to get more undesired attention from cybercriminals. We help adopt and use new technology in a secure way, so our customers can enjoy its benefits without putting their data or assets at risk.

Sadly, I also have to stay pessimistic. Even with all the security controls in place and every necessary precaution taken, a skilled hacker targeting your IT system will find a way to get in, be it sooner or later. In this case, it is crucial to detect and respond to the intrusion as soon as possible. That’s why one of our major focuses is security information and event management (SIEM), which enables 24/7 monitoring of the IT environment, advanced threat detection, and incident response. As an IBM partner, ScienceSoft implements, customizes, and fine-tunes IBM QRadar SIEM. We also created a proprietary QLEAN App Suite – an advanced monitoring tool for IBM QRadar self-audit and fine-tuning. It was recognized with the 2021 IBM Beacon Award for Outstanding Security Solution.

What type of cybersecurity services do you provide?

We’ve put a lot of work into our cybersecurity service offer to be able to provide for any security needs our customers may have. We provide cybersecurity consulting to help design and build secure apps and networks, develop and adopt efficient security policies. We offer targeted security testing: vulnerability assessment, source code review, penetration testing, social engineering testing. We also perform comprehensive security checkups, such as risk assessment, compliance assessment, IT security audit and more. Our security engineers can implement and customize security solutions to fit a specific IT environment: firewalls, endpoint protection systems, DLP, IDS/IPS, IAM, SIEM, SOAR, etc.

What do you love about working in cybersecurity?

Well, it’s the thrill of the challenge. IT security is a never-ceasing fight between the good guys and the bad guys. Malicious actors are at advantage: they only need to find a single security gap to break into a system. We, on the other hand, have to foresee every attack or technique they might employ. We have to decipher our opponents’ tactics and figure out their tricks in advance – it means constant learning, improvement, and creative thinking. No time to get bored, that’s for sure.

I see that you offer IoT consulting, what are some cybersecurity risks that an average user might not know, when using IoT devices, and how can they secure them?

IoT devices can be convenient not only for enterprises and individual users but also for cybercriminals. They are widespread, constantly connected to the web, and, worst of all, they hardly have inbuilt security or consistent update mechanisms. Hackers may hijack smart devices to use them for DDoS attacks or infect them with malware that will be passed on to the other devices in the network. Attackers can easily get access to the sensitive data sent or received by an unprotected IoT device.

While IoT systems manufacturers are the ones who can and must ensure reliable protection of their devices, they still fail to adopt a security-by-design approach and are unwilling to dedicate resources to cybersecurity. Good news is that there are simple ways that allow users to significantly reduce the likelihood of IoT attacks. Let me share a few tips:

  • Secure your Wi-Fi at home, use VPN as an additional protection layer. It’s a good idea to create a separate network for all IoT devices. Disconnect your IoT devices when you don’t need them.
  • Set up unique, strong passwords for your IoT devices and connected user accounts, make sure to change them frequently, use multifactor authentication.
  • Keep your software and firmware up to date. If you don’t get regular updates from the IoT device manufacturer, check out its website to find and install the latest version. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide such updates, you should consider replacing your device.

What are some necessary tools that small businesses need to implement on their websites to prevent cyberattacks or data hacks?

To protect a website against most common cyberattacks, you need to combine preventive and detective tools. If one of them fails, others will come into play and stop the malicious activity before any significant harm is done. On the most basic level, a website requires such security tools as:

  • A vulnerability scanner to promptly detect the security gaps that may enable a security breach.
  • A web application firewall that blocks malicious requests in the incoming traffic.
  • Antimalware that identifies and removes malicious programs.
  • Security monitoring tools to quickly detect and alert you about suspicious activity.

With a limited budget to spend on its cybersecurity, a small company may consider using a security solution that combines all the above-mentioned functionality. Although it may be less powerful than specialized security tools, it will still offer decent protection at a lower cost.

Thank you for your time Dmitry, this was really informative!

About the Author

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.

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