‘We’ve got to wake up’ to very real threat of cybercrime

Cybersecurity executives who think their mission is to defend against and stop cyberattacks in real time are “dead wrong,” Q6 Cyber founder and CEO Eli Dominitz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

“Why? It’s too late,” Dominitz said in an interview on “Mad Money.” “By the time the bad guys are knocking down your door, banging on your window, it’s too late. These guys are steps ahead of you. What we try to do is go after the bad guys, find out who they are. What kind of tools are they using? What kind of tactics do they have? Who are they targeting? Why are they targeting you?”

Privately-held Q6 Cyber takes a “fundamentally different approach to security,” Dominitz told Cramer. The Florida-based company specializes in scouring the dark web and using intelligence to build proactive cybersecurity strategies rather than focusing solely on defending against existing threats.

A global company with offices in the United States, Israel and Costa Rica, Q6 employs former U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials with experience in fighting cybercrime to be on its own front lines. Besides the private-sector pay, what often attracts them to Q6 is the “cutting-edge” work that lets them chase “the bad guys” every day, the CEO said.

“Look, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Russians, they’re after all of us – corporations, individuals and governments,” Dominitz said.

“For a long time America waited,” he continued. “We weren’t proactive, we were defensive. And these guys are smart, they’re sophisticated, they’ve invested a lot of time and money in going after us and we’ve got to wake up. We’ve got to be much more proactive.”

And to Dominitz, who founded Q6 in 2015, being proactive means much more than what even top cybersecurity organizations are doing.

“The thing that a lot of cybersecurity organizations are doing today is putting up tall fences — cameras, sensors, if you will — around their network perimeter and are trying to detect attacks, events in real time. The problem is, again, it’s too late,” the CEO said. “You’ve got to go out there, you’ve got to engage these guys early, and having that intelligence up front means that you’re prepared and you can engage much earlier.”

Dominitz recalled a case several months ago in which Q6 detected Russian malware going after a U.S. bank. Q6 contacted the bank and gave it the tools to render the attack ineffective — something the company frequently does for organizations that are not Q6 clients.

And with the U.S. midterm elections, a hot-button issue in the realm of cybersecurity, on the horizon, the federal government could be in for a bit of a security challenge, the CEO said.

“The government is doing a lot. We actually collaborate, we advise and we work with them, but it’s not enough,” Dominitz said. “I don’t want to comment on any specific clients, but we’ve got good relationships in the public sector as well and there are a lot of things that we see that have implications for the public sector, not just the private sector.”

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