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IMF cyber attack: the cyber war is now

by david.nunes



13 June 2011, London & San Francisco.  Brian Spector, CEO of CertiVox, a new information security company recently backed by Octopus Investments and Pentech Ventures, appeared on BBC News last night to discuss the recent cyber attack on the IMF, Sony Corp, CitiGroup, and Google.  [See:  http://t.co/wB3jGnj 


The coverage of a high profile security breach at the IMF has been widely greeted with an understandable sense of public concern.  The IMF has access to extremely critical and sensitive information – and this information may be in the wrong hands now. In every way the public and experts’ fear is real.  There has been a lot of discussion about a ‘forthcoming’ cyber-war – however CertiVox maintains that the much-feared cyber war is in full motion already.  In the interconnected global economy and the world’s geo-political arena, the only universally accepted currency in the drive for power and competitive market advantage, is information. Those that possess information possess power. As stated by the US Defence Department two weeks ago, a virtual attack in cyber-space on the US is will now be considered equal to a physical attack on the nation’s home territory. Retaliation will be based on conventional warfare if deemed appropriate. The cyber war is now.


Employees and private individuals are at threat. As organisations have improved their network security, threats have diversified to be highly skilled, incredibly sophisticated and excellently organized to focus on the weakest link. Attacks today start with mapping humans’ social networks to initially gather social intelligence and use this to penetrate what are weaker links compared to network components. The result is that our personal association to a group, company, enterprise or government is putting targets on our back.


The web has found its way into all parts of our lives, and all generations depend on it for commerce, social interaction and research. If the governments around the world stand idly by and uniquely strive to protect themselves, yet don’t democratize the availability of technology to individuals for their protection, our trust in the Internet will be seriously reduced. The potential risk of trust in the Internet will be a dramatic economic loss to western economies.


Brian Spector, CEO, CertiVox, said, “The latest attack on the IMF simply proves that the cyber-war is happening now.  CertiVox fundamentally believes that everyone has the right to secure their private data on the web – and we recognize the strategic importance of protecting, information, right from the start, at the individual level.  It’s with the forward thinking of investors such as Octopus that we have been able to work towards protecting nations, people, and industry.  CertiVox have developed a breakthrough technology, that we will shortly be releasing, that allows individuals to easily protect all of their data on the Internet.  Watch this space for the release of our new service that will ‘Arm the Citizens’!


Luke Hakes, Octopus Ventures, said, “Octopus is constantly searching for those rare businesses that can truly revolutionise an industry.  In CertiVox we have a business that will not only change the way that people think about and approach information security, but that also has the potential to change our digital lives.  We are delighted to partner with a company that we believe will be a great success story for the UK and that will bring benefit to individuals and companies around the world.”


Sandy McKinnon, Pentech Ventures, said, “With daily stories of data breach-after-breach, the cyber-war is certainly escalating.  Old security paradigms are clearly flawed and increasingly failing – building higher walls won’t work in this new sharing Facebook world. Clearly, there is a need for better technologies that protect the citizen, the institutions and the state.  We believe that CertiVox has the potential to deliver the most disruptive and simple security product ever to put the power back into the hands of the citizen and companies and give them a more usable form of pervasive protection.”


CertiVox (www.CertiVox.com)

CertiVox develops and markets technology and services that enable everyone to secure their information exchanges simply and easily. CertiVox has headquarters in San Francisco and London.


About Octopus Investments (www.octopusinvestments.com)


Octopus Investments, founded in 2000, is a leading investment specialist. We offer innovative core and satellite investment solutions to UK investors, and a wide range of funding options for exceptional companies.


Our core investments include a discretionary management service, multi-manager multi-asset OEICs, and single manager OEICs. These are complemented by our range of satellite solutions, including venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes and inheritance tax products. Each product has been designed to solve specific problems faced by financial advisers and their clients.


Our funding solutions cover the entire capital structure, from equity through mezzanine to senior debt, and we seek out outstanding management teams in unlisted companies with whom we can partner.


Octopus has built its business around three core pillars: customer led innovation, excellence in customer service and the quality of our people. We employ more than 200 people and currently have more than £2.3 billion in assets under management.


Octopus has won a number of awards for its products and customer service.  We have twice been voted one of the best 100 SMEs to work for by the Sunday Times, and we are one of only two fund management companies to be AAA rated by financial advisers for customer service.


Pentech Ventures (www.pentechvc.com)

Pentech Ventures invests in companies developing and marketing enterprise software, SaaS solutions and internet technologies, working in applications ranging from digital media, e- commerce, social gaming and mobile advertising to software protection and software verification. The Pentech Partners and Advisory Group Members have considerable experience in starting, developing and exiting software businesses, both in Europe and in the U.S. The Pentech Fund is managed by Pentech Ventures LLP, and includes the European Investment Fund amongst its investors. Pentech Ventures is regulated by the FSA.



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