Bitcoin’s ‘been a problem for us’

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The cryptocurrency market is on the fritz with correction threats looming, but that might not be so bad for cybersecurity leaders like Kevin Mandia, the CEO of FireEye.

“From a cybersecurity standpoint, an anonymous currency has not been a great thing,” Mandia told CNBC in a Friday interview with “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.

“It just opens up another avenue to monetize computer intrusions, theft of IP and theft of communications,” the CEO said. “So we deal with bitcoin from that angle and it’s just been a problem for us.”

Mandia, whose enterprise-facing company builds advanced cybersecurity software, emphasized the risks associated with the proliferation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Ransomware, or holding someone’s information hostage via encryption while demanding payment (usually in bitcoin) in return, has become popular with malicious cyberactors.

“They’re anonymous currencies and that’s a very valuable thing,” Mandia told Cramer. “If you can commit a crime from 10,000 miles away, there’s not a lot of risk or repercussions to it. And if you can steal somebody’s email and extort that person in an anonymous currency, that’s a challenge for us.”

“We’re making it easier to make money off computer intrusions,” Mandia warned.

As cybersecurity companies like Mandia’s in turn make money off protecting people from those intrusions, budding issues like overlapping products and services start to emerge.

But in an increasingly digital — and thus increasingly risky — age, the more protection, the better, the CEO told Cramer.

“You can’t just be good at network security or just good at endpoint or just good at asset discovery. You’ve got to be good at email security, endpoint security and network security. You want to bring it all together,” Mandia said.

He referred to FireEye’s product as a second layer, or “layer two” to things like firewalls and built-in email security.

“We’re detecting millions of attacks a week, and when we detect them, that’s a problem,” the CEO said. “We’re the second goalie in the net. So attacks are still real. We’ve got to bring network, email and endpoint together. Just going solo with one of those is not a layered defense.”



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