Meet Sitelock – a Website Security Firm by Neill Feather

Neill Feather is the president of SiteLock, a leading provider of website security solutions for business. At SiteLock, Neill leads the company's approach to 360-degree domain security by providing industry analysis and utilizing rapidly evolving data sets related to security and hacking trends. Neill has over 20 years of experience in the technology and systems industry, notably providing technology solutions and industry insights for Johnson & Johnson prior to joining SiteLock. In this article, we sat for a one on one conversation to hear some of Neil's views on cyber security and what's coming next.

Neill-Feather sitelock website security

Please provide some background on yourself and your company.

Growing up, emerging technology was a big part of my life. My dad was a software engineer, and he taught me how to write code at a young age. I spent several summers working with him at the data processing office that he ran, where I learned a lot about data, creating reports, writing websites and more.

I kept refining my skills throughout school, and when I was working on my MBA, I realized that I wanted to use my passion to start a business. I met with some friends who shared this same entrepreneurial mindset, and after a weekend of brainstorming, we decided to start a website security business geared towards filling the gap in security offerings for small businesses. Since then, SiteLock has grown to over 200 employees, with expectations to end the year around 300, and we protect more than 6 million websites worldwide.

Today, SiteLock, a global Leader in business website security solutions, is the only web security solution to offer complete, cloud-based website protection. Its 360-degree monitoring finds and fixes threats, prevents future attacks, accelerates website performance and meets PCI compliance standards for businesses of all sizes. Founded in 2008, SiteLock protects over 6 million websites worldwide.

What inspired you to become a coder?

When I was very young, my dad taught me how to code on an old Apple computer. As I got older and worked for him over the summers, I realized that software was something I wanted to pursue as a career. My interest transformed into inspiration as I began to learn about the security industry and realized the gap in security solutions specifically for SMBs. I was able to use my technical expertise to pursue my passion and create lightweight and efficient protection for a previously underserved market.

What makes websites a target for attackers? And what best practices would you recommend to prevent them?

Hackers attack websites looking for three main things: data, computing resources and visitors’ eyeballs. All of these digital resources make websites a valuable target for cyber attackers. Even more troubling, websites can act as a distribution method for malware, allowing hackers to compromise all of the visitors of the site rather than one person at a time, maximizing the intensity of their attack and enabling theft of large volumes of information from a wide variety of users.
To combat these attacks, all companies – regardless of size and budget – should put effective cybersecurity measures in place. SiteLock’s tools, including automated malware scanning/detection and removal are great ways to protect yourself and your website from suffering the damaging effects of a cyber incident,.

Over the past 2 years we have seen a rise in cyber security breaches going public. Which of these events have you found to be most intriguing and why?

One interesting outcome of the public breaches of large organizations is that it has created an environment in which many organizations, particularly SMB’s have become desensitized to risk, believing that they could not be a victim of cyber attacks. It is reminiscent of a phenomenon discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. In World War II, when the Germans were bombing London, it turned out that the longer the bombing went on, the less concerned survivors were about attacks because while they were aware of the bombings, they were not, themselves, impacted. They started to believe it couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to them. The same thing is happening with cyber attacks and SMBs today.

Rather than focusing on one particular breach, we need to consider how the numerous cyber incidents that have made the headlines have influenced public perception of security. Though overall public awareness has increased, many SMB’s have adopted a mindset of “it won’t happen to me.” The continued attacks on large companies that make splashy headlines lead them to believe they won’t fall victims themselves.

In reality, 99% of hacked websites are comprised of sites you might not expect like blogs, small business and nonprofit sites. Rather than letting the breach of the day dominate public discourse, we need to turn the conversation to the topic of security best practices and arm businesses, especially SMBs, with the tools needed to prevent a cyber attack.

In your opinion, what are the main characteristics that differ white hackers from black hackers, and why?

I think the ultimate difference between white and black hat hackers is motivation. White hat hackers work legally to shine a spotlight on security issues to help organizations mitigate risk, whereas black hat hackers commit crime and exploit vulnerabilities for personal gain.

How do you see the future of cyber in 5 years from now?

I think hackers will continue to shift their focus from PCs and desktops to websites and web applications. Websites have become an increasingly large target for attacks, and I think this will only continue to grow in the coming years.To stay a step ahead of threats, organizations need to prioritize security and implement comprehensive security measures and technologies.

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