Ashar Aziz is Silicon Valley's First Pakistani-American Billionaire

Silicon Valley has minted the first Pakistani-American billionaire with an incredible 377% surge in the price of Fireeye (NASDAQ: FEYE) shares since its IPO last year.

The advanced computer security software company , founded by Ashar Aziz, priced its initial public offering of 15.2 million shares at $20 per share in September, raising about $304 million after increasing its expected price range to $15 to $17 per share.

Aziz owns about 10.91 million shares in the Milipitas, Calif.-based security company; that 9.3% stake on the close of the first day of trading in September was worth more than $392 million.

Here are some of the reasons for the huge spike as described by Business Insider:

1. The company's flagship product solves a really hard computer security problem. It is able to stop hack attacks that were previously almost impossible to stop.

2. FireEye bought another security firm, Mandiant, for $1 billion. Mandiant was famous for uncovering links between Chinese hackers and attacks on U.S. companies.

3. With Mandiant, FireEye launched a cloud computing security service that competes with SourceFire. SourceFire is the company Cisco bought last summer for $2.7 billion.

4. The company beat expectations on its fourth quarter with revenue of $57.3 million, a beat by $1.26 million, and EPS of $-0.35, a beat by $0.03.

5. Some Wall Street analysts have been really gung ho on the company. Wells Fargo started tracking it a month ago, saying it was "a once in a decade opportunity to invest in a truly disruptive technology."

The world has dramatically changed since the 1990s when Wintel ruled the roost. PC is no longer the dominant device. Smartphones and tablets have brought the era of mobile cloud computing where neither Intel nor Microsoft enjoy leadership position. Even developing countries like Pakistan are deploying cloud computing applications. A Google sponsored survey in Pakistan found that mobile computing is expected to overtake desktop computing this year. Several new and more innovative and powerful players have emerged to in this market.

As more and more enterprises embrace cloud-based computing, cloud security is becoming a hot area for many entrepreneurs. This shift means over $2 billion annual market for cloud security vendors like Fireeye and Elastica. Researchers at Gartner forecast the highest growth to occur in cloud-based tokenisation and encryption, security information and event management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment and web application firewalls.

Recently, a Silicon Valley cloud security start-up Ealstica was launched by Rehan Jalil, a Pakistani-American alumnus of NED University of Engineering, Karachi, Pakistan. Elastica received $6.3 million funding from Mayfield Ventures, a premier Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm.

Several analysts have recently upgraded Fireeye to buy with the target price above $100.

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Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

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US Promoting Venture Capital & Private Equity in Pakistan

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
The Syrian conflict has been marked by a very active, if only sporadically visible, cyberbattle that has engulfed all sides, one that is less dramatic than the barrel bombs, snipers and chemical weapons — but perhaps just as effective. The United States had deeply penetrated the web and phone systems in Syria a year before the Arab Spring uprisings spread throughout the country. And once it began, Mr. Assad’s digital warriors have been out in force, looking for any advantage that could keep him in power.

In this case, the fighter had fallen for the oldest scam on the Internet, one that helped Mr. Assad’s allies. The chat is drawn from a new study by the intelligence-gathering division of FireEye, a computer security firm, which has delved into the hidden corners of the Syrian conflict — one in which even a low-tech fighting force has figured out a way to use cyberespionage to its advantage. FireEye researchers found a collection of chats and documents while researching malware hidden in PDF documents, which are commonly used to share letters, books or other images. That quickly took them to the servers where the stolen data was stored.

Like the hackers who the United States says were working for North Korea when they attacked Sony Pictures in November, the assailants aiding Mr. Assad’s forces in this case took steps to hide their true identities.

The report says the pro-Assad hackers stole large caches of critical documents revealing the Syrian opposition’s strategy, tactical battle plans, supply requirements and data about the forces themselves — which could be used to track them down. But it is not evident how or whether this battlefield information was used.

“You’ve got a conflict with a lot of young, male fighters who keep their contacts and their operations on phones in their back pockets,” said one senior American intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss espionage matters. “And it’s clear Assad’s forces have the capability to drain all that out.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/world/middleeast/hackers-use-old-web-lure-to-aid-assad.html?_r=0

https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/fireeye-www/global/en/current-threats/pdfs/rpt-behind-the-syria-conflict.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
New Delhi: A Pakistani cyber security firm, which has worked with the authorities in that country, has been found stealing information from the Indian government and defence establishments, a report by a US-based security firm FireEye (founded by Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz) said today.


The Pakistani cyber firm accessed computers of bureaucrats through malware and targeted Indian establishments using leased US hosting services, FireEye said.

"An Islamabad-based IT security firm called Tranchulas, which claims to have helped prepare the Pakistani government for cyber warfare, bombarded officials in Indian government organizations with emails containing malicious software, or malware," it said.

The report reveals that India remains a vulnerable target for cyber-attacks even after documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed widespread spying by US National Security Agency.

The firm used terms like 'Sarabjit Singh', 'Devyani Khoragade' and 'Salary hikes for government employees' in the subject line to lure officials into opening attachments containing the malware.

The malware, identified by FireEye, has been active since early 2013 with the name of a Tranchulas employee, Umair Aziz, in its code.


FireEye said that since "July 2013, different variants of the malware with modified names have surfaced. It is indicated that it was common for cyber attackers to use servers located in a different country to avoid detection".

http://zeenews.india.com/news/sci-tech/pakistani-cybersecurity-firm-stealing-indian-data-fireeye_1560512.html
Riaz Haq said…
FireEye, Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE), the leader in stopping today's advanced cyber attacks, today released "Behind the Syrian Conflict's Digital Front Lines," a report from the FireEye Threat Intelligence team detailing the activities of a cyber espionage group that stole Syrian opposition's strategies and battle plans. To undertake this operation, the threat group employed a familiar tactic: ensnaring its victims through conversations with seemingly sympathetic and attractive women. As the conversations progressed, the "women" would offer up a personal photo, laden with malware and developed to infiltrate the target's computer or Android phone.

"In the course of our threat research, we found the activity focused on the Syrian opposition that shows another innovative way threat groups have found to gain the advantage they seek," said Nart Villeneuve, senior threat intelligence researcher at FireEye. "While we cannot positively identify who is behind these attacks, we know that they used social media to infiltrate victims' machines and steal military information that would provide an advantage to President Assad's forces on the battlefield."

Between at least November 2013 and January 2014, the group stole a cache of critical documents and Skype conversations revealing the Syrian opposition's strategy, tactical battle plans, supply needs, and troves of personal information and chat sessions. This data belonged to the men fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces as well as media activists, humanitarian aid workers, and others within the opposition located in Syria, the region and beyond.

During analysis by FireEye Threat Intelligence, a unique tactic of the threat group was uncovered. Over the course of a Skype conversation the attacker would ask the victim what type of device he was using to chat. By determining whether it was an Android phone or a computer, the hackers would then send appropriately tailored malware.

FireEye Threat Intelligence has found limited indications about the threat group's origins, but if the data was acquired by President Assad's forces or allies, it would benefit his military efforts.

http://investors.fireeye.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=894009
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Security Firms Ransomware. Intelligence Start-Up i-Sight Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers http://nyti.ms/1KkAiOI

On a recent Wednesday morning, 100 intelligence analysts crammed into a nondescript conference room here and dialed into a group call with 100 counterparts in Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, India, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine.

As they worked their way around the room, the analysts briefed one another on the latest developments in the “dark web.”

A security firm in Pakistan was doing a little moonlighting, selling its espionage tools for as little as $500. Several American utility companies were under attack. A group of criminals were up to old tricks, infecting victims with a new form of “ransomware,” which encrypts PCs until victims pay a ransom.

The analysts, employees of iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops, were careful not to name names or clients, in case someone, somewhere, was listening on the open line.

Within 30 minutes, they were all back at their keyboards, monitoring underground chatter and markets, analyzing computer code meant to cause harm, watching the networks of potential attackers and poring over social media channels for signs of imminent attacks.

For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.

ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.

The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates. Mr. Watters, a tall, 51-year-old Texan whose standard uniform consists of Hawaiian shirts and custom cowboy boots, frequently invokes war analogies when talking about online threats.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani-#American Asher Aziz's cybersecurity firm #FireEye probing #Bangladesh bank heist of $100m. http://reut.rs/1U6vS3z via @Reuters

Investigators suspect unknown hackers managed to install malware in the Bangladesh central bank's computer systems and watched, probably for weeks, how to go about withdrawing money from its U.S. account, two bank officials briefed on the matter said on Friday.

More than a month after hackers breached Bangladesh Bank's systems and attempted to steal nearly $1 billion from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, cyber security experts are trying to find out how the hackers got in.

FireEye Inc's Mandiant forensics division is helping investigate the cyber heist, which netted hackers more than $80 million before it was uncovered.

Investigators now suspect that malware that allowed hackers to learn how to withdraw the money could have been installed several weeks before the incident, which took place between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, the officials said.

Investigators suspect the attack was sophisticated, describing the use of a "zero day" and referring to an "advanced persistent threat", the officials said.

A zero day is a vulnerability in software that has yet to be identified or patched. Hackers leverage this hole to plant malware on the target computer.

Advanced persistent threat is a long-term attack on a system, where hackers remain inside the target, for months, and sometimes even years.

So far investigators have not found any proof of involvement of the central bank staff in Bangladesh, one of the officials said, but added that the probe was continuing.

Unraveling the mystery behind one of the largest cyber heists in history is crucial for security in a connected world. Understanding how it happened could help banks shore up security of their computer systems and payment networks that form the backbone of global commerce.

Security experts say the perpetrators had deep knowledge of the Bangladeshi institution's internal workings, likely gained by spying on bank workers.

Bangladesh Bank officials have said hackers appeared to have stolen their credentials for the SWIFT messaging system, which banks around the world use for secure financial communication.

The Fed, which provides banking services to some 250 central banks and other institutions, has said its systems were not compromised.

The Bangladesh central bank had billions of dollars in its current account, which it used for international settlements, officials have said.

The money stolen from the Bangladesh central bank made its way to the other side of the world.

Some $80 million are believed to have ended in the Philippines, and further diverted to casinos and then to Hong Kong, according to bank officials.

One $20 million transaction was directed to a non-profit organization in Sri Lanka.

But the unusually large transaction for the island nation and a misspelling of the NGO's name raised red flags that helped bring the robbery to light. The transaction was blocked as was another huge payment instruction that was for between $850 million and $870 million.

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