Interview With Franco De Bonis – VISUA
We interviewed Franco De Bonis, Marketing Director of VISUA, and asked him about his platform that provides brand intelligence to analyze visual data.
Private Internet Access: Tell me about what your company does.
Franco De Bonis: VISUA develops computer vision solutions, which we call Visual-AI. If you feed data into AI, artificial intelligence systems, it looks at all the data points, and it can make logical, human-like conclusions based on how it’s been programmed.
The challenge comes when you want to analyze unstructured data where, for example, you want to analyze video or images. There are masses of data in that media, but it’s not structured, there’s no labels to any of it. You have to understand it, and to understand it, you have to look at it with human eyes. That’s where Visual-AI comes in. It allows us to look at visual media with human eyes, but at machine speed, so we can process billions of images each month—many hundreds of millions a day—to extract valuable insights from this media.
PIA: What is the flagship product or service of VISUA?
NC: VISUA began as LogoGrab because the core technology that kicked this whole thing off was logo detection. It was the ability to identify logos, and this explains why we were originally pulled into the world of cybersecurity. It started off as logo detection because brand monitoring companies wanted to understand how brands played on things like social media positively and negatively. And there was no way really of doing that.
But as the world transitioned to a much more visual world, people started to add more and more images and video to their social posts, so we developed a technology that allowed companies like Brandwatch—a platform that provides brand intelligence—to analyze that visual data and to find those visual mentions so they can build those into their reports. Then it expanded from there into object detection, text detection, visual search, and all these other connected computer vision technologies.
PIA: Why do you think individuals and companies need a good VPN?
NC: The best cybersecurity practices don’t rely on a single technology solution, they layer many technologies along with safe practices and processes to mitigate risk. VPN is one of those foundational technologies that people should have. For individuals, there are numerous reasons why they might choose to use a VPN, from privacy to content streaming, but a strong piece of advice I would give is to always use a VPN when connected to a public wi-fi network because bad guys can ‘sniff’ data and trace it back to devices. VPNs can mask your device and encrypt your data from the world, so you stay secure even when on a less secure network.
For business users, you probably won’t have a choice as a strong VPN is the backbone of any organization’s security and rightly so. A VPN masks critical servers and systems from the outside world.
PIA: What are the worst cyberthreats out there today?
NC: Depending on which company you speak to in cybersecurity, and specifically in phishing detection, they’ll tell you that upwards of 90% of all compromises begin with a simple phishing email. There is an enormous growth in the prevalence of brand spoofing, and in particular, the use of graphics as a weapon. With this growth, today there are three times more malicious links being clicked than there were 12 months ago. And almost half of the people that they have interviewed are more concerned today about the growth in brand spoofing and their brands being spoofed than they were the previous year.
Something is happening in the market that is causing people to trust email more, so they click the link. Phishing detection platforms are exceptionally good at detecting and blocking phishing attacks. However, they’re not infallible. And it only takes one malicious email to get into your system to receive it.
The time it takes now for malware to start traversing your network has come down from two hours to one hour. They confuse the recipient and evade detection using graphical techniques. Add a malicious link that downloads malware, or send you to a fake login page, so they get your credentials, and then they’re into your network.