In Nov 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially unveiled Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative. The idea: using a network of sensors and smart devices to enable people to not only connect but be able to live sustainably and comfortably.
Six years on, the country is well on its way to PM Lee’s vision. For such a nation to function seamlessly and effectively, it requires an enormous amount of data to crunch. And when any company or country has millions of gigabytes of data, cybersecurity becomes paramount to ward off attackers attempting to steal that information.
Founded in 2003 by Chris Petersen and Phillip Villella in Washington, security intelligence and analytics company LogRhythm has a similar vision to help its customers avoid damaging cyber incidents. To that end, it has built a stellar reputation simply by remaining unnoticed; when a cybersecurity company makes the news, it is usually for the wrong reasons.
With success, global expansion naturally followed. LogRhythm set up an outpost in Singapore in 2014. The innumerable awards it has garnered along the way, including one of The Peak’s Tech Laureates awards, also demonstrate the efficacy of its cybersecurity solutions.
Now, consider the ubiquitous lamp post. Before the Smart Nation initiative, it was simply a light source. Today, Singapore is transforming the 110,000 lamp posts in the island into smart lamp posts capable of tracking vehicle speeds, analysing crowds, recognising faces, and more.
With all this collected data, the country knew attackers would attempt to steal it. So, after a global search, it chose LogRhythm’s award-winning SIEM (security information event management) solution. “A SIEM is like the security system you have installed to not just detect when there is an intruder in your home but to also stop the intruder from committing a crime. What makes it different from other cybersecurity solutions is that the SIEM not only monitors the front door but also the back door, windows, visitors who have visited your home, and more.
“PERPETRATORS DO NOT DISCRIMINATE WHEN CHOOSING THEIR TARGETS, AND IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT A HIGHLY CONNECTED COUNTRY SUCH IS SINGAPORE IS HIGH ON THE LIST OF CYBERCRIMINALS.”
“In this case, the SIEM monitors an organisation’s networks, servers, information systems, routers, firewalls, users, applications and other devices,” explains Joanne Wong, vice-president of marketing for LogRhythm in the APAC region. “It collects data from all these sources that give it a comprehensive view of what’s happening within the organisation, its users and networks. If an anomalous event occurs, an alarm alerts the security team to investigate the situation and trigger an automated action if needed.”
A project of this magnitude would usually take up to eight months to complete. LogRhythm completed it in less than two weeks. Within days, attacks started coming in. LogRhythm’s SIEM fended them off.
With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating digital transformation, Wong envisions even more threats emerging. The recent incidents involving Zoom also thrust the importance of cybersecurity into the public eye. “Perpetrators do not discriminate when choosing their targets, and it should come as no surprise that a highly connected country such as Singapore is high on the target list for cybercriminals, including hackers. They are capable of using AI and machine learning techniques to target specific individuals and industries.”
Last year, according to US-based cyber risk analytics firm Risk Based Security, more than 15 billion records were leaked in security breaches – a number that’s only expected to rise as the world becomes more connected.
“To effectively tackle this, businesses and individuals need to recognise that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility,” says Wong. On LogRhythm’s end, it has an aggressive roadmap to further strengthen its support for cybersecurity professionals. One Wong is especially excited about is automated detection. “It brings together several factors to update risk scoring and can potentially change the decision on a suspicious security event.”
Almost two decades after its founding, LogRhythm’s vision remains the same: to help customers avoid damaging cyber incidents.
Text Farhan Shah