24 Oct

Airgap Networks Introduces Telco Innovations to LAN Protection

    Airgap Networks unveiled a groundbreaking feature that intercepts ransomware attacks by shutting down device interactions and curtailing communications between applications and devices.

    Emerging cyber threats, including AI-driven malware, identity deceptions via deep fakes, and nation-backed ransomware, increasingly evade conventional security tools. Recognizing this, Ritesh Agrawal, the lead at the cybersecurity venture Airgap Networks, observed that many penetrative cyberattacks on enterprise systems don’t usually infiltrate telecom and service provider domains.

    Drawing from his vast two-decade exposure to cybersecurity, enterprise connectivity, and cloud platforms – much of which was under Juniper Networks with a focus on telecommunication and major corporate clients – Agrawal pointed out, “In telco subscriber platforms, individual users work in isolation, ensuring safety. While I can message or video call you, direct network communication between our phones is restricted.”

    Agrawal’s realization about the inherent security of telecom networks versus conventional enterprise systems inspired him and several ex-Juniper peers to launch Airgap Networks in 2019. Since its inception, the startup has procured initial and successive investment rounds, invented a “ransomware interruption feature,” and garnered a clientele including names like Dropbox and Skyline Enterprises.

    With a recent investment influx exceeding $4 million, the startup’s overall funding has surged to $23 million, with Storm Ventures being a major backer, and several others like Cervin, Engineering Capital, Sorenson Ventures, and individual stakeholders also joining the fray.

    Airgap’s Intervention: A Singular Solution Against Ransomware Agrawal underscores the striking contrast between enterprise and telecom platforms by focusing on ransomware attacks. Telecom domains are inherently designed to resist malware propagation. Conversely, enterprises often find themselves unprepared during a ransomware onslaught. This leaves technicians frantically maneuvering within data centers, attempting to manually sever connections to quarantine compromised systems. As businesses persist with obsolete tools and methods, cyber adversaries evolve, leveraging AI and sophisticated algorithms, amplifying the financial repercussions of attacks.

    Projections from Cybersecurity Ventures caution that by 2031, ransomware will target businesses every 2 seconds, with an annual cost approximated at a staggering $265 billion. The recent assault on MGM Resorts International exemplifies the extent of potential disruptions. Cyber attackers infiltrated MGM’s defenses via a basic phishing technique and then, with their ransomware, incapacitated a plethora of essential services, from cash machines and gaming setups to hotel security systems. The impact lingered for over a week.

    Airgap Networks’ pioneering solution, the ransomware interrupter, is a singular control within the Airgap operational dashboard. It curtails all lateral device interactions and ceases network-wide communications. Once activated, a company’s cybersecurity team can systematically reinstate vetted systems and devices. Upon full resolution, a singular action reinstates regular networking parameters.

    Leveraging Agentless Microsegmentation with Airgap Central to Airgap Networks’ web-based security offering is its foundational Zero Trust Shield (ZTS), tailored to safeguard mission-critical enterprise resources. Airgap’s philosophy is to virtualize isolation of critical components through “agent-free microsegmentation.”

    Traditional LAN designs grant extensive interconnectivity privileges to enterprise endpoints. This unfettered communication is an inherent vulnerability. The broad attack surface, combined with unrestricted device-to-device interactions, makes it easier for malware to proliferate. Cyber adversaries are well-versed with this systemic flaw, exploiting open channels to orchestrate successful breaches.

    Airgap’s Zero Trust Isolation mechanism negates any unsanctioned lateral activities within the LAN. It encircles each workload with a policy-driven security perimeter, stipulating its communication bounds.

    Airgap’s ZTS introduces a myriad of added features, extending authentication processes to critical components like SCADA, ICS, OT, IoT, and outdated devices. It ensures comprehensive endpoint segmentation, validates device-to-device exchanges, and incorporates AI-driven threat detection.

    To enhance asset identification and administration, Airgap incorporated capabilities from NetSpyGlass, a network intelligence entity, in mid-2023. Given the dynamic nature of present-day enterprise networks, monitoring tools often overlook several interconnected components. Any merger, branch additions, or even hardware relocations create unnoticed alterations. Consequently, several organizations remain oblivious to the scale and specifics of their network assets.

    The assimilation of NetSpyGlass into the Airgap ZTS elevates its insight into intricate networks. Agrawal commented on this integration, emphasizing the value of precise asset identification in timely threat responses.

    On a related note, Airgap has also cultivated an AI-backed threat detection module, ThreatGPT, using a blend of graph databases and GPT-3 models. This ensures comprehensive cybersecurity overviews for IT personnel.

    Redefining LAN: A Multi-Billion Dollar Pursuit Argawal asserts that persistent vulnerabilities in enterprise networks arise from their reliance on obsolete technologies. While modern buzzwords like zero trust and microsegmentation currently shape Airgap’s offerings, they are mere steps in Airgap’s expansive growth strategy. “We’re essentially a connectivity entity masquerading as a security solution,” remarked Agrawal, visualizing Airgap’s aspirations to revolutionize and command the enterprise LAN domain, a venture worth billions.

    While Airgap currently contends with an array of cybersecurity firms, a shift towards LAN architecture redesign might see it rivaling giants like Cisco and Juniper in the future.


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