Fixations: Why this security exec blows off steam on the road

'Some people meditate and this is my form of meditation'

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Michael Raypold, chief technology officer of Victoria-based Echosec Systems Ltd., talks about the joys of cycling and the dangers of the dark web in this interview from the June, 2019, issue of FPM.

FPM: Why does a company need help monitoring social media?

Raypold: There is way more information generated on a daily basis than an individual or even a team can monitor. We’re a bit more interested in the outliers and trends when we’re searching through social media. By layering on meta data, we can help companies discover things that can help fine-tune threat intelligence that might affect their brands, assets or executives. It’s really about reducing the noise and the information asymmetry to the point where they don’t have to throw resources at it.

FPM: What threat does the dark web pose?

Raypold: The dark web is a more challenging problem, because by nature it’s not visible and you need special tools to access it. I don’t want to mislead people — there is nefarious content, illegal content and marketplaces — but the entire dark web is not illegal content. It can be used for good. People post blogs on the dark web. There are a couple of news organizations that have pages on the dark web. We’re focused on the content that might have leaked personally identifiable information or things that might materially affect a brand, things that could put a company in a negative light such as an info security breach or a threat to one of their executives or brands. We don’t go a day without hearing of another data breach, or an account that’s been hacked, or some actor that’s been in some corporate network and siphoned off some proprietary information. It’s really a cat-and-mouse game. It’s us trying to stay ahead and find this data so we can show it to our clients for their security purposes.


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FPM: What happens when you do find something negative on the dark web?

Raypold: The time to react is critical, especially if you’re a consumer-facing company. You need to figure out if some malicious actor has been in your network or leaked information. You as a company really want to get ahead of that story and communicate with your customers so that you don’t damage the brand even further. If there’s a leak on the dark web or stolen credentials for sale on a marketplace, it’s a matter of weeks before somebody like a journalist will pick up on that and it’s front-page news.

FPM: No wonder you need a break sometimes. How did you get into cycling?

Raypold: I worked for a summer in Fernie (B.C.) and about 10 years ago I really got into downhill mountain biking. But having to focus on my career, it’s not feasible to go to the mountains every day. I got into cycling as an alternative, because I could work nine to five and then ride for an hour or two in the evening. I’ve been doing that for a couple of years now.

FPM: What’s your training regimen?

Raypold: I ride into work, which is actually quite quick. I take it to the extent that I will prep the GPS and really challenge myself as I’m riding into work to get my time down. I’ve got it down to 13 minutes now and it used to be over 20. But what I really do for training is on the weekends I’ll try to ride over 100 kilometres and challenge myself to improve my times.


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FPM: What do you get out of cycling?

Raypold: Some people meditate and this is my form of meditation. It is an opportunity to clear my head and ignore any other problems or stress that I have. It’s two hours outside when it’s just myself, the road and my immediate surroundings. As an executive, you spend so much time worrying about the team and the company that these two hours are the only times when I can just focus on me. It’s a little bit selfish, but it’s important to me to use that time to clear my head.

FPM: What’s your goal in cycling?

Raypold: For the Gran Rondos, I want to be in the top quartile for my age group. That’s my goal for the Whistler Gran Rondo this year. But what I’m really striving toward is the Taiwan King of the Mountain Challenge. There’s a lot of ex-professionals in it and I want to ride in that. I would really like in 2020 or 2021 to get a cycling licence and start competing in some of the professional races, but I need another year of training to do that.

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