Ukraine can become a global hub for cybersecurity market

Ukraine can become a global hub for cybersecurity market

At the final presentation of the first cohort of CyberAccelerator UA, the SocialBoost team presented the program's achievements, the alumni teams pitched their projects, and market experts discussed the future of cybersecurity in general and critical infrastructure security in particular.

On September 27, a Demo Day of CyberAccelerator UA, the first acceleration program in Eastern Europe for product and service companies in the field of cybersecurity, took place and highlighted the main achievements.

The 3-month program started in June and was focused on business improvements, operational efficiency, strategic development and technical advancement of participants. During three months participants have launched the pilot projects with major banks, started new business streams focused on critical infrastructure and boosted their sales with subscription based-offering.

President Zelenskyy and President Biden discussed cybersecurity on the highest level, and of course, that comes down to the USAID. IT is very strong here in Ukraine. However, cybersecurity is a very small piece of that. So, what we're trying to do with our friends from SocialBoost is working with private companies to create an active private sector space for cybersecurity services and working with them to connect with people who need what they provide,

the Head of the USAID Department of Economic Development Christopher Abrams said during his welcome remarks.

Invited guest of the event, NordVPN's CTO Marijus Briedis, spoke about how his company managed to reach a leading position in the field of VPN services, launch three new products and its own accelerator. He advises companies to be persistent, as NordVPN was restarted 36 times before becoming a global product.

Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure

The CyberAccelerator UA is run by the SocialBoost team within the USAID Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure of Ukraine Activity. This four-year initiative aims to strengthen Ukraine's cyber resilience, and market development is an integral part of building state-level cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is an extremely important part of IT, especially in a hybrid war. We at the Ministry of Digital Transformation are truly grateful to USAID for its critical infrastructure cybersecurity program. We believe that Ukraine has great potential in this direction, in particular in Diia.City, we have separately added the sphere of cybersecurity. We really believe that there are strong [cybersecurity] experts in Ukraine, and we want more of them to create their own companies here, which we will be proud of, 

said Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development.

The effectiveness of cybersecurity systems consists of three main components, which are IT infrastructure, awareness and readiness in responding to cyber incidents, said the Director of the Department of Project Management and Change Management of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority Mikhail Vidyakin.

Deputy Minister of Energy for Digital Transformation Yevhen Vladimirov noted that Ukraine faced major cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, including BlackEnergy 3 in 2015. Such situations have demonstrated how important cybersecurity is and how much everyone's lives depend on the country's cyber resilience.

Valery Fischuk, Member of the Board of the Institute for Digital Transformation, Viktor Zhora, Deputy Head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine for Digital Development, and Vasyl Zadvorny, General Director of Prozorro, also noted the importance of cybersecurity for the state, individual ministries and critical infrastructure enterprises. The panel was moderated by the Head of the Market Development Component of the USAID Cybersecurity Activity, Deborah Fairlamb.

To protect itself from cyber threats, Ukraine must develop a market including more local companies to offer cybersecurity products and services. These companies will also contribute to building Ukraine's cyber resilience through public-private partnerships. And I also believe that Ukrainian companies will be worthy partners for private and public entities and contribute to the rapidly growing international cybersecurity market. We are pleased to work with SocialBoost as an essential partner for implementation of the CyberAccelerator program. Their extensive experience in accelerating SME development, including current Cybersecurity and other USAID-backed projects, is extremely valuable,

Timothy Dubel, USAID Cybersecurity Activity Chief of Party said.

New Products and Services in the Cybersecurity Market

Cyberlands’ target customers are Fortune 500 enterprises struggling with hiring and retaining cybersecurity talent and getting ROI from security tools bought. They don’t have enough people and they have too many tools to manage (Gartner - 78% of CISO has 16+ tools to manage). Cyberlands are positioning themselves as Cybersecurity Doctors on Demand – providing Fortune 500 customers both remote and on-site help.

H-X Technologies offers a new quality of industrial cybersecurity services to address growing cybercrime incidents in critical infrastructure and industrial IoT. H-X combines the 20-year experience of IT security, IT engineering, industrial automation, and competence development with a strong professional network to offer competitive and scalable cybersecurity services.

Radar ID aims to detect compromised personal information of customers sooner, no matter where it occurs, then help to make it obsolete for thieves. Identity theft protection solution minimizes the risk of identity theft, through proactive early warning alerts and identity restoration services. Identity fraud insurance will help to mitigate the consequences of used data in committed crimes in the name of the customer.

IT.exe offers subscription-based SOC services. The company conducts audit of enterprise processes for compliance with internal and external cybersecurity regulations (information security audit, basic product); survey of IT infrastructure and IT services by black/gray /white box (pentest, basic product); preparation for compliance with international and local security standards (ISO27001, regulations of the National Bank and the government, certification, basic products). Security that is available to everyone approach allows them to build an initial ISMS model without much expense to meet the client’s needs.

Ukrainian Interbank Payments Systems Members Association EMA was developing the Fraudulent Payments Tracker (the project is managed by EC3 Europol partner). Global losses from payment fraud have tripled from $9.84 Billion in 2011 to $32.39 in 2020. In Europe 76% of them are in the CNP environment. Service that connect banks, PSP and LEAs in one system with API and web-interfaces and help them to track fraudulent payments time and cost effectively.

Intelli Group is the IT solutions supermarket for SMB. Quality and affordable solution informational and cyber protection for SMB, which will include: audit, based on the results of the audit, implementation organizational, technical, software tools for information and cybersecurity, certification companies with a need for formal verification.

SEKURNO provides a wide range of client-oriented cybersecurity services or innovative businesses, including penetration testing, compliance audit and implementation (GDPR, ISO, SOC2, etc), virtual CISO (vCISO), Security Integrated into Software Development Lifecycle (SSDLC), security education, trainings for employees. SEKURNO helps clients with complying with regulations, new market entry, confidence in their security, investable reputation for future growth.

once.REST produces minimalistic products focused on deviating data protection, data anonymization and masking. The company uses atypical or not yet widely used techniques, such as steganography, polymorphic encryption, dead’s man switch encryption. once.REST is targeting emerging and dual-use data protection niches. Sakhar application is used for hidden data storage on the local devices, and provides means of technical and social insurance against unauthorized decryption.

Unlink VR/Quantum provides proven secrecy for the new post-quantum world having QKD available both for fiber wire and as a free space optic solution. They approach the quantum computer era that comprises most of known public-key cryptosystems. The company’s goal is to build a QKD solution mixed with a post-quantum application security solution available as a service. Both hardware and software will provide a high-level API interface for smooth and seamless integration.

The SECURITY STEPS platform was developed for raising awareness of cybersecurity. It includes tools for monitoring and analyzing the results of courses. They offer a series of training videos with the subsequent passage of surveys and coverage of test results for group leaders for small and medium-sized businesses that work with sensitive information, as well as civil servants who have access to important data. Tests an improvement in results by 30 percent after completing the courses.

What's Next? Opportunities for Ukrainian Companies

Ukraine became sort of testing bed for a lot of technologies from some countries that eventually turned down to be very aggressive to Ukraine, Ukrainians and it's stand out that Ukraine doesn’t quite have a market for that. There are not so many critical companies that can both serve the needs of commercial clients and the needs of the government sector. So the aim of this program is basically to change the situation, to build at least eighty or one hundred new companies or help you to basically make a new step in industry where you have no be before,

said Denis Gursky, SocialBoost co-founder & Head of Board, in his address to the participants.

Open call for the second batch of the CyberAccelerator UA will start mid-October. Small and medium-sized technology companies with cybersecurity focus, product and service businesses are invited to participate. Requirements include company registration in Ukraine, at least one cybersecurity specialist in the team, and scalability potential of the solution to work it all out during the three-month program.