Coviello: 'Customers fleeing to our competitors? It’s baloney!”

By Sooraj Shah
11 Oct 2012 View Comments
Art Coviello is chief executive of RSA

Executive chairman of security firm RSA Art Coviello has hit back at rivals who have claimed to have snapped up some of RSA's customers since it was the victim of a cyber attack, describing the claims as "baloney".

RSA, the security arm of storage firm EMC, had announced that it was the victim of a cyber attack in March 2011, stating that critical information may have been stolen from its servers.

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Several months later, Computing spoke to Julian Lovelock, senior director of secure identity solution provider and RSA rival ActivIdentity, who said that the firm had taken on board a few of RSA's customers since the breach, although he did not reveal who the customers were.

In an interview with Computing, Coviello responded to the claims stating that they were inaccurate, but confirmed that the breach did have an effect on RSA's customer base.

"It's baloney – we lost only a handful of customers from the whole situation and I'm very grateful to our customers for sticking by us. The facts are that there was only one attack that was even mentioned by the press which was confirmed by the company who was attacked, and there were no other attacks," Coviello said.

RSA president Tom Heiser had told delegates at RSA Conference Europe 2012 that since the breach of its own security, there had been no evidence of any successful attacks on a RSA customer.

"The only attack that there was, was thwarted by the company that was attacked," Coviello told Computing.

Nation states and criminals teaming up

Coviello also expanded on remarks he had made earlier at the conference, in regards to criminals and nation states working together to launch cyber attacks.

"It is not a one for one transaction where the criminals give the nation state credentials and they give back an APT attack. I'm sure money changes hands separately for the credentials and the attacks," Coviello explained.

"Nation states collaborate and use the criminals to launch an attack and that is happening, as we see evidence – mostly circumstantial – in our anti-fraud command centre. We've had this confirmed by a reliable source – a recent retiree from the intelligence community – that these types of associations that we've long suspected are indeed going on," he said.

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