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Having malware detection and analysis at its core, Germany-based cybersecurity solutions provider VMRay is focused on delivering advanced cybersecurity protection to its customers. In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, chief sales officer Ilijana Vavan elaborates on the importance of being protected in this digital era, how they improve the VMRay platform, and the company’s commitment to the Middle East region in terms of digital safety.

VMRay is a security company focused on malware analysis and incident response. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports show that cyberattacks have multiplied in number. What is the role of VMRay regarding this matter?

Yes, that is correct. The numbers revealed in KPMG’s UAE Covid-19 Cybercrime Survey provide clear evidence: 83 percent of the surveyed companies state that they have seen significant increases in phishing scams (50%), email spamming (46%), and online scams (38%). This trend is likely to continue in 2021. Malware detection and analysis is our core strength. We detect very sophisticated and previously unknown malware that existing cybersecurity solutions miss. This is why our software is typically installed on top of the existing solution. Whatever they miss we catch. We are like an X-Ray seeing everything through.

How important is it for large enterprises to prepare for advanced cybersecurity threats in this digital era?

It is extremely important. Large enterprises and governments are the backbones of every economy. Successfully disrupting operations and services will exert a very significant social impact, especially when critical infrastructure is involved. The effect goes beyond the attacked organization. The UAE’s advanced digitalization has created a tightly interlaced community, where one successful attack could create the dreaded domino effect. From the cyber actors’ viewpoint, this is very effective. Typically, these attacks are highly complex and involve advanced malware. The preparedness to meet such advanced attacks varies from organization to organization, depending on the maturity of their cyber defense concepts. But they should prepared, and the UAE Cybersecurity Council will be there to lead the way.

The Middle East has been a target of cyberattacks over the years. How can you ensure the protection of customers’ databases, servers, and other datasets in the region?

The Middle East has early recognized the advantages of digitalization and the dangers of the same. It has therefore invested in both tracks in parallel, no single digital implementation is done without proper cybersecurity strategy in mind. Nevertheless, even the best cybersecurity fences are prone to advanced, very sophisticated, and until today, unknown attacks. Advanced malware has been designed to evade traditional security defenses. Our solutions close this coverage gap as we seamlessly integrate with the organization’s existing security environment and provide threat intelligence that can be shared across the ecosystem, strengthening the organization’s cyber resilience. We can help in many ways – from protection against email-borne phishing and ransomware threats to the detection and identification of complex targeted attacks. We power the organization’s advanced threat protection capability.

What strategy do you adopt to improve your platform, particularly in bringing malware analysis and detection solutions with high-performance and massive scalability?

We are a German company, based in Bochum which is the European Center for cybersecurity. Renowned Max Planck Institute for Cyber Security, as well as other high tech and cybersecurity universities in the region are a great source of innovation and the best talents in the industry. Our R&D is closely collaborating with these cybersecurity universities making sure we always stay ahead with our high-performing technology.

Having clients in Saudi Arabia, how do you plan to expand VMRay’s presence and services in the Middle East region? What is your long-term commitment to your customers?

We just started our global expansion and that includes MEA. We have hired a business development manager for the region based in Dubai, we have signed a distributor agreement with EliteVAD and many resellers have already entered into a partnership with us. We are currently talking to some big system integrators and MSSPs in the region with whom we want to develop a joint strategy securing their customers.  In summary, we are here to stay.
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