October 22, 2019

Using technology to fight cybercrime and trying to catch the uncatchable: Paul Vallée is building our next line of defence

Data is the hottest global commodity today, but it’s also the target of ever-increasing incidents of e-crime and security breaches. For Paul Vallée, dealing with data protection is at the core of what Tehama.io does.

Vallée founded Pythian when he was 25, and by nature of the business, was thrust into questions of data security and compliance. For a business that wants to access the global talent pool, how can it ensure remote workers have secure and compliant access? For Vallée and his team, that meant investing in a service delivery platform that allowed them to securely connect with their customers without ever trusting the machines on the desks of the people working remotely around the world. The response was overwhelmingly that users needed the platform for other service providers.

This service, creating secure virtual workspaces where users can work on highly secure and highly valuable data systems, has applications for law enforcement investigations. Vallée describes it as virtual real estate, or a room. Data enters, but never exits. For law enforcement this can be an incredibly powerful tool for dark web investigations. The use case for investigation is that it gives law enforcement the ability to collect evidence without the investigation being tracked back to police officers.

While at the helm of one of Canada’s leading data companies, Vallée’s interest around Canada’s national data strategy continued to grow. One of his concerns was how easy it is for black hat hackers to target the services supply chain and attack critical national infrastructure. “Our infrastructure, generally speaking, is very poorly protected,” says Vallée on the challenges faced by law enforcement in combatting cybercrime. With tools and resources in short supply, the challenges are starting to be so severe that “we really need to turn our attention to prevention.” Collaborating with innovators and rethinking infrastructure is his idea of a more efficient way to fight crime.

“Criminals that are attacking enterprises are borderline uncatchable, and those enterprises need to wake up and defend themselves by adopting a suite of better technologies and strategies to secure their infrastructure.”

The rapid development of technology means policy and prevention need to play catch up. Right now, Vallée explains, the most efficient way for a victim of data ransom to resolve the issue is to pay the ransom. The resources simply don’t exist to find the culprit or the data otherwise.

Learning from different industries and finding ways to collaborate and share knowledge is part of what Vallée is looking forward to at the upcoming EPIC conference. Together, he hopes, we can find solutions for the prevention of these types of attacks.

Paul Vallée will be speaking in the Policy Debate on Privacy, Encryption, Lawful Access, and Public Safety. Attendees can connect with him on LinkedIn.