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April 30, 2020 9:46 am

CEO of Israeli Cybersecurity Startup: ‘Fake Information Is One of the Worst Side Effects of Covid-19’

avatar by Hager Ravet / CTech

A Palestinian youth wearing masks used by computer hackers who attacked a number of Israeli websites recently, seen backdropped by the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 8, 2013. Photo: Sliman Khader/Flash90.

CTech – One of the most disturbing side effects of the coronavirus pandemic is not related to physical symptoms but to online behavior — it is the fake news culture related to the pandemic. The phenomenon has become so widespread and dangerous that even Facebook recently announced it would take action to remove unverified information about the virus from the social network. At the center of the war on the fake sites is an Israeli cyber company called IntSights Cyber Intelligence that recently started working in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). IntSights develops a database that aggregates threat intelligence and provides organizations with tailored threat analyses.

Guy Nizan, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said in a recent interview with Calcalist that one of the company’s most recent focus topics is detecting the plethora of fake sites related to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization, and other health organizations.

“In most cases, the motive for publishing fake information is money,” Nizan said. “Many such sites ask you to enter details like your name and address when the purpose is to steal personal information. Such phishing sites routinely try to steal credit card information, but even stealing only users’ personal information is worth a lot of money. For example, you may be asked to input your location to let you know if there are people who are infected with the virus in your vicinity. It could even be a website that pretends to be a government site. When people are in panic mode, it is easy to take advantage of weaknesses.”

“Another prevalent phenomenon is hackers taking advantage of the fact that people are using more tools for working remotely. For example, we recently saw a database of online conferencing company Zoom released by hackers,” he added.

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According to Nizan, some of the thefts that harm companies do not include an attack on the company itself. “In the field of e-commerce, for example, one of the most common attacks is uploading a fake domain to the network. It’s simple and effective: hackers ask customers to enter details and that’s it. We know how to detect such sites and remove them from the web.”

IntSights is not aiming to replace the classic defense products, but to optimize them through cyber intelligence specialization, Nizan says. Unlike other common security products, it does not wait for an attack to happen, but proactively collects information about attackers. “Other cyber companies are looking at what’s going on inside the organization and whether it’s being attacked,” Nizan says. “Our approach is proactive: we look outside, and use appropriate safeguards according to our findings.”

Much of IntSight’s work involves thorough monitoring of the dark web. “The Dark Web” is a nickname for some of the sites on the internet that can’t be accessed through common browsers and is characterized by extensive criminal activity. IntSight’s researchers are well versed in the happenings on this network, believing that a substantial part of the cyberwar must include information about attackers and their targets.

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