We’re really pleased to announce that our CTO Joe Levy has been elected onto the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) Board of Directors. We caught up with Joe to discuss what the CTA does, and what the appointment means to him and Sophos.
Congratulations, Joe! First of all, can you talk us through what the CTA is and how it relates to Sophos?
Sophos has been a member of the Cyber Threat Alliance since 2017. The CTA is a group of cybersecurity experts from different companies that have chosen to work together in good faith to share threat intelligence for the greater good.
Being transparent when discussing future technology strategies between competing vendors has always been challenging, but by creating a trusted forum where the industry’s brightest minds can come together, we’re able to join forces and strengthen the fight against adversaries.
What does it mean to you to be elected onto the CTA Board?
By joining the CTA Board, I can be more directly involved in breaking down the conventional obstacles to collaboration, and in constructing a climate where industry collaboration becomes the norm rather than the exception. The CTA’s mission is important and I am excited to be a part of the group’s next chapter.
How does this benefit Sophos and our customers?
What I value most about the CTA and having Sophos involved is the opportunity for transparent collaboration for the advancement of cybersecurity. Altruism can be difficult in a competitive environment, and cybersecurity is a very competitive industry. Alliances attempt to address that, but they have a reputation for failing more often than not.
The CTA appears to be an exception to that, because it operates on the principle that the mission is more important than the personalities. By offering practical encouragements to collaboration, altruism can thrive as a strategy. Every individual company can continue to do great things on their own, where none of us will be diminished, but where adversaries face a more formidable allied power.
As more security vendors come together to share intelligence and ideas, we have a better chance of better protecting all of our customers.
How has your experience until now shaped your contribution to the CTA?
For starters, my name translates to “increase (by) joining” so you could say there’s an element of destiny, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Next, from an early age, Charles Darwin has had a big impact on my thinking, as he has for many of us, and our understandings of life and its ability to seemingly defy the odds with its innovation, robustness, and antifragility. One element of Darwin’s teachings that’s of particular interest is how we reconcile the “every man for himself” message that many take from the theory of evolution, with the ample evidence from history that cooperative strategies are often the most effective.
Somewhat paradoxically, it turns out that cooperation, done correctly, is the best survival strategy for the (selfish) individual. There has even been some interesting mathematical modeling of this through large-scale game theory simulations. I’m not suggesting this applies to all domains, or that there are not pitfalls, only that it works well for social populations with lots of interactions. And cybersecurity concerns itself largely with protecting a very social domain with a lot of interactions.
More simply and practically, the bad guys cooperate with each other, so the good guys should, too!