Aviva Zacks of Safety Detectives had a wonderful time interviewing Secure Web Computing’s CTO Chris Bai. She got to ask him about how his company got started and why it was nicknamed the “Swiss army knife of apps.”
Safety Detectives: What inspired you to start Secure Web Computing?
Chris Bai: Almost 20 years ago, I created a bookmark manager. At that point, it was called Pathfinder like the Nissan car model. It was a hobby project to maintain all my thousands of bookmarks. You can do that in a browser or an Excel sheet, but I decided to do it on a web service, so I created Pathfinder as a web application to host my bookmarks.
When I moved to the US four years ago, I met John, my business partner, and when it came to looking into web pages, he sat behind me and had a chance to look at my screen and what I do when I log in to certain webpages. So, I grabbed my web application, and I simply copied and pasted the login credentials from it to the webpage and was able to login into web pages very quickly. This totally impressed John, and he told me, “That’s exactly what I need. I am an agent and I have so many internet accounts and managing passwords is a pain in the neck, so I need a solution for that.” And that was the point when we decided to make a product out of this book manager, and we rebranded it as Passfindr. That was two years ago when we started this company.
SD: Tell me about your company.
CB: Twenty years ago, I started this bookmark manager with base technology like Perl CGI on an Apache web server that has changed a lot over the last 20 years. The upcoming version is totally modernized and we now use Bootstrap as the layout and styling engine. The front-end is totally redesigned and modernized and totally responsive now. And we are now in the beta stage, and I think in the next few weeks we are ready to go public with the beta version of Passfindr 7.
SD: What helps you stay ahead of the competition?
CB: We try to not have a simple password manager or a bookmark manager or a note-taking machine. Passfindr is actually all of them. You can use Passfindr as a password manager, a personal search engine, or a personal wiki. You can create articles and publish articles with the product you have. You can host all your bookmarks. You can host all the tiny notes that you usually have somewhere on your computer in different files as totally fragmented information, and Passfindr has it all. You can have tiny fragments of information hosted in Passfindr and have very fast access to this information with a very powerful search engine. And, of course, you can encrypt everything you enter into Passfindr, so that makes this tool very versatile.
One of our power users mentioned that he created a frequently asked questions page by himself and published it and he mentioned that the app is like a Swiss army knife of applications. I’m quite proud of this power user’s explanation of Passfindr.
SD: What would you say are the worst cyberthreats out there today?
CB: It’s not technology. Technology is there for a long time. We have good standards for encryption and for securing connections. I worry about the human being—not the technology, but the human being and especially people working at home. Home computers are generally poorly managed, poorly maintained, and not up to date. Having a computer at home is different from having a computer in a company. A company usually has proficient IT management, which has secured almost everything. They have group policies in place, but not so on private computers.
Hackers might target big companies, but they are usually completely secure with certain devices but not so at home. So, to me, the human being on the regular computer at home is most likely to be targeted by cybersecurity attacks.
SD: How would you say the pandemic is changing cybersecurity for the future?
CB: The pandemic and the use of tools like video conferencing have increased a lot during the time. All these tools were already in place before the pandemic, and I think they are used now more often than before but in terms of cybersecurity, I don’t think that the pandemic changed a lot or will change a lot.