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'It's A Strange Time': A Q&A With Censys, An Ann Arbor-Based Internet Security Company

'It's A Strange Time': A Q&A With Censys, An Ann Arbor-Based Internet Security Company

Amid a technology-driven society, workplaces who utilize new applications, software and programming are more susceptible than ever before to problems with security.

According to a recent report by Risk Based Security, there were over 6,000 documented data breaches in 2018 alone. Continued advancement in technology equals more opportunities every year.

Companies like Censys, the Ann Arbor-based internet security leader that has been continually scanning the global internet since 2013, are developing new ways to secure even the most advanced technology in the workplace, and this occurs on a global scale.

Censys enables organizations to see a current view of all of their assets so users can proactively prevent targeted attacks and investigate suspicious activity. Censys data is utilized by government organizations, companies in over 14 countries, and over 25% of Fortune 500 companies.

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Benzinga recently chatted with Censys Senior Solutions Engineer, Art Sturdevant, on the direction of the industry and company news.

BZ: What are the statistics around data breaches currently? Has the problem become more prominent in the past few years? If so, why do you think?

AS: In short - Yes. The Internet of Things has opened up enormous opportunities for new types of breaches. There are tons of IoT devices from light switches to door bells, that have no business being connected directly to the Internet. When they are connected, they become easy targets for malicious use. We shouldn’t have to worry about our light switches potentially influencing election results, but here we are.

It’s a strange time to be alive. As more and more things go online, there will continue to be an uptick in attacks. I’d like to see the large IoT manufacturers focus on products that prevent risk so we don’t have to retroactively find devices exposed to the internet.

Specifically, breach victims break down to 16% Public Sector entities, 15% Health care organizations, 10% Financial industry, and 43% Small Businesses. Not surprisingly, most breaches are financially motivated (71%), and 56% of breaches took months or longer to discover.

Health care breaches also stand out as a rising problem with a lot of visibility. Often carried out by external actors (42%), these breaches are overwhelmingly financially motivated (83%).

BZ: What types of users will benefit the most from this new platform?

AS: Large organizations with a lot of assets and those that are continually moving to the cloud, as well as companies that have recently merged with or acquired other organizations and anyone concerned about shadow IT risks and vulnerabilities. We help organizations find and quickly patch vulnerabilities that they didn’t even realize they had.

The worst time to find out that an asset you own or are responsible for has been breached, is after the fact. The Censys platform provides real-time monitoring and proactive management of the entire attack surface - both known and unknown entities - to prevent and address suspicious activity.

BZ: How do you consider the current state of cybersecurity?

AS: As critically bad as it has been, in all honesty, it is getting better. Organizations are taking security more seriously and awareness has generally increased. We’re finally seeing security initiatives that have long been in the works at large organizations starting to pay dividends.

BZ: What are the limitations to data/information that Censys is able to retrieve?

AS: Censys can see the entire external attack surface. So if it’s exposed, accidentally or on purpose, we can see it. That said, organizations can still use our technology to scan cloud-based data. Censys doesn’t scan things like internal assets, such as individual laptops.

Censys, and other companies who are dedicated to maintaining internet security and preventing breaches, are always developing new ways to retrieve data and best protect users. Censys will be rolling out a SaaS platform this week that enables security and IT personnel from enterprise organizations to automatically detect, view and monitor all assets and infrastructure including hosts, software, domains, and IOT devices, in order to mitigate exposures and threats, and to proactively prevent attacks before they lead to brand damage and data breach.

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