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INTERVIEW: Malwarebytes CEO talks new threats and how they’re getting “nastier”


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INTERVIEW: Malwarebytes CEO talks new threats and how they’re getting “nastier”


19 Jun 2013

by Ben Graham



Marcin Kleczynski founded Malwarebytes in 2006 when he infected his parent’s computer. Finding traditional anti-virus software ineffective, Kleczynski began writing his own anti-virus code before eventually creating a fully-fledged anti-malware product. Now, as the company launches its first backup product, he talks partnerships, educating consumers and keeping agile as the fight moves to new frontiers.


¤ How has security changed since Malwarebytes was founded seven years ago?

It's got nastier. The security landscape is going to evolve in the direction that these threats are harder to remove. Traditional malware is like an application, you install it, you can probably delete it. Now we have rootkits which sit on the system, dig in and prevent you from doing anything, including running an anti-malware product, essentially rendering your computer useless. I've heard of malware that zips up your entire documents fold, password protects it and says it’ll give you the password for USD100 otherwise say goodbye to the data. If you lock that kind of malware behind a rootkit, it’s essentially unremovable.


Luckily it takes a very skilled person to write this kind of rootkit without crashing the computer, it’s a lot of code and it’s not widespread yet. I fear that more people are going to learn how to write rootkits, or they're going to be sold as tools bundled with malware and it's going to become a widespread issue.


¤ What sets Malwarebytes apart from other online security companies?

We're still small. A typical anti-virus company has hundreds of people, we've just broken 100 and that makes us very agile. When we see a threat, we can get a database out there in 15 minutes. By contrast, anti-viruses can lag 48 hours and in that time malware can affect thousands of people. Somebody puts a malicious advert on the New York Times, hundreds of thousands of people clicked it, but we were the only ones to detect it for 24 hours and go get it.


¤ Does that cause you to have reservations about expanding, for fear of losing that agility?

It does and that's why I like to perfect products before we move on. We spent five years on Windows anti-malware products. Now we're going to spend five years on a backup product perfecting it as we go along. It takes a lot of organisation and a lot of mobility to be able to move so fast and I never want to see us fall behind. 


¤ Why have you decided to move onto Mac and Android now?

We have stayed away from Mac and Android before because we wanted to perfect our product on Windows. We feel we've done that and it’s time to expand our horizons. There's a reason Macs and Linux machines aren’t huge targets and that is because Windows is 80% of the market.  Now as it moves away, mobile might be a great way for malware writers to monetise. We wanted to design our own mobile product, hopefully releasing a product by late July. Once we're done with Android we can move on to iOS and tablets for an actual mobile security product.


¤ How did you create your new product?

We partnered with SOS Online Backup. We didn't want to invent our own and they’re a reputable online backup system. It’s not that we were lazy, it's that we didn't want to make the same mistakes that every online backup company makes along the way. Whereas they've revised their online backup several times and it’s a mature product.


They focus a lot on security and protecting users’ data, meaning it doesn't matter what you upload we will not reveal it to the government and there are ultra-safe features such as one way password encryption. We then wrapped anti-malware scanning on top of it. We don't want users to backup malware and then share it with their friends and family, so all of the files that go up on the cloud get scanned by our engine and eventually we're going to bring anti-virus scanning into it as well.


¤What’s the new product’s target audience?

It's a consumer product for people who don’t necessarily know what backup is. Probably 85% of the people out there don't have any backups, but we think that backup is a crucial pillar of security.You've got your anti-virus and anti-malware but when you just cannot remove this malware or it’s deleted all of your documents,you need online backup.


People believe their harddrive holds all their data and if something goes wrong they can get it back,but that's not the case. So we're trying to educate users and that's really what our company is about.


¤Would you consider making an enterprise version?

That's never out of the question but I don't think its mature enough, we always like to demo it with our consumers. When it comes to corporate backup you're talking a huge and different animal. Keeping that data even safer and there are liabilities to consider, but SOS does have that platform so whenever we're ready, they're ready.


¤Malwarebytes’ products have previously been sold on a freemium model. How will the new product be priced?

Price was the biggest stumbling block for us because of infrastructure costs and holding the data.We offer 5GB for two weeks and then charge for the actual backup product. For 200GB we charge USD120. That's a shock for some people, but that's also USD12 a month to keep all your data secure. It’s still something we're experimenting with because if we can get the costs down we can offer free packages to our users.


SOURCE: http://digitalmedia.strategyeye.com/article/LbWacf9NyVo/2013/06/19/interview_malwarebytes_ceo_talks_new_threats_and_how_theyre_/



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