We talked to Felipe Daragon, founder of Syhunt, about mobile and web security and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Felipe Daragon: Everyone is fine, including me, during these challenging times. We’re very conscious that this is a temporary moment that humanity will overcome, so we decided not to lower our heads, but to raise them high, keep optimistic, and keep the focus on the important things in our lives.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Syhunt.
Felipe Daragon: I started very young as an information security professional. By the time I was 17, I worked for some of the best security companies in my native country (BRAZIL). At some point, I started creating software that helped international companies secure their websites, and this lead to the founding of my own security company (SYHUNT). Before the company reached today’s high maturity and innovation levels, it was a long journey of research and perfection.
How does Syhunt innovate?
Felipe Daragon: Cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and our mission is to help organizations be ahead of the threats. We created software that detects vulnerabilities in their web and mobile applications, through source code analysis and dynamic analysis. This is our field of expertise and our very active R&D activities allowed us to create this software that combines and augments industry methodologies. When used, they greatly reduce the chance of getting hacked or inadvertently introducing flaws that may lead to data leaks and similar issues.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Felipe Daragon: The lockdown restrictions didn’t affect our innovation and business processes. We quickly adapted to it and kept things moving forward, but perhaps the pandemic is starting to have some serious data privacy implications worldwide – a major leak just happened in Brazil affecting everyone. With increased cloud storage capacity and growing reliance on the cloud, it’s a matter of time before a major leak like this one happens and affects another country.
Let me explain. Last week, through an analysis conducted in partnership with one of the major newspapers in Brazil (ESTADÃO*), we alerted about the dimension of a data leak that exposed close to 220 million Brazilians and 40 million companies in Brazil – the data is being sold on the Dark Web by an anonymous hacker. We very quickly created custom software to help us perform the analysis and, unfortunately, we estimated that the hacker has nearly 1 TB (terabyte) of sensitive information covering every individual and business of the country.
So, while all the media attention is centered around the Covid crisis, what is happening? Fearless cyber-criminals are trying to become rich by selling (or re-selling) massive quantities of stolen information, bit by bit, exchanged for bitcoins. This kind of illegal activity started before Covid, but the overload of information about the Covid crisis is likely creating a perfect moment of distraction and giving them a false sense that they cannot be pinpointed and arrested by the authorities.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Felipe Daragon: The pandemic made me understand that, despite the challenging times, this was a moment to focus on innovation more than ever. It was not a difficult choice.
Of course, the Covid crisis caused a lot of disruption and pain, and some circles, businesses, and industries were more affected than others, but like any major crisis, it also presents some opportunities for growth, either on a professional or personal level, to all of us, individually or collectively.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Felipe Daragon: Our competitors usually are very big, NASDAQ companies. I don’t oppose the idea of an innovative startup seeking investors, and we have been repeatedly contacted by many interesting ones over the years, but during our journey, we also decided that the best path for us was to be self-funded.
Our map to innovation was not tied to how much money we had at our disposal, but to our expertise, dedication, and persistence. Today we do innovate more and our products add more value to customers than those offered by many companies that are backed by multi-million dollar investments.
Your final thoughts?
Felipe Daragon: Please do not forget to use a mask and pay more attention than ever if your private information is being leaked or sold online. And I know this sounds cliché, but change your passwords often.