Peter Galvin is the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at nCipher Security, as well as an expert on Security Baron’s expert network. Security Baron spoke with Peter and asked him the burning questions we had about VPNs, password managers, and cyber security in general.
When do you think VPNs and password managers are necessary for the average consumer? Are most VPNs worth using?
As consumers increasingly utilize online sites for activities like banking or those that require personal information (like birthdates, social security numbers, etc.) password managers are helpful for maintaining good password hygiene. By using password managers, consumers can get have more complex passwords and potentially rotate those passwords more often for another layer of protection. VPNs are particularly helpful if a consumer is using public Wi-Fi networks to access sensitive applications, such as those related to business and finance. They’re also a critical tool for citizens living in countries that block or ban sites for political reasons, since a VPN allows them to access neutral news sources without revealing their identities.
What qualities do you look for in a VPN? Password manager?
VPNs should leverage strong encryption and have entry points that are near your location or location(s). Those wanting to use VPNs to access blocked information should look for options that allow them to do so. Consumers should also look for VPNs that, unless expressly permitted, do not log data or retain personal information.
Password managers should be simple to use and integrate. Consumers can also prioritize those that offer advanced features – such as multi-factor authentication – if they want an additional layer of security.
What do you wish more people knew about cybersecurity?
That it is not that hard to keep yourself safe online. A little bit of education, leveraging encryption when it is available and using good password hygiene coupled with multifactor authentication will go a very long way.
You’ve worked in cybersecurity for the past few years. What initially attracted you to this space and what have you learned about cybersecurity since that you think is most important?
I have always loved technology and I think the best part about our industry is its constantly changing nature. What originally attracted me to security was the (now debunked) view that “breaking” into someone’s “digital life” was somehow different than breaking into their house or their “physical” life. As we know now, the two conduits are comparable. If consumers lose their digital assets – like their social security number or medical information – it can be incredibly harmful. So I was drawn to cybersecurity as a means to help protect people from malicious activities.
What products and services from nCipher Security are you most proud of, and how do these products and services come to be?
nCipher and the internet have a very long and similar history. One of the first methods for secure internet connections was SSL (still used to today but upgraded to TLS) to protect the connection from a browser to a server. nCipher made one of the first SSL acceleration cards, providing SSL security but at the speed that the internet needed. nCipher’s founders were also visionaries in that they saw the need for strong cryptographic solutions to protect data and applications – and met that need with general purpose hardware security modules (HSMs). While nCipher’s products have changed over the years, the core foundation of strong cryptography and key management is as important as ever. nCipher products are part of the underlying security infrastructure that allows consumers to buy tickets on line, use a mobile app for services, pay for a coffee using their mobile phone or even use their hotel app to open the door to their rooms, ensuring trust and integrity in their everyday lives.