Earle G. Hall, AXES: “the Internet is a no-trust environment and should be treated as such”
Cyberthreats have always disturbed the peace of the online world. But with everything becoming more digitized, attacks are becoming more advanced and more frequent, making everyone vulnerable.
There are various types of attacks, such as fraud attempts, ransomware, or data breaches. While some organizations think that such threats aren’t their concern, no one is safe. And considering that cyberattacks can result in financial or reputational damage, it's better to be safe than sorry.
While good password hygiene and traditional security tools are necessary, companies could make use of more complex measures, such as cloud information management platforms.
To learn about the right cybersecurity threats and prevention methods, we invited Earle G. Hall, the President and CEO of AXES – a company that specializes in management systems that protect from theft and fraud.
How did it all begin for AXES? What has your journey been like since?
AXES was created to solve a mission-critical problem in the land-based casino industry. Our mission was to eradicate money laundering, theft, and fraud, as well as enforce responsible gaming with real-time data.
Like for any cutting-edge, innovative technology provider, it has been difficult. Our secret weapon is the shareholders that have believed in us from the inception, along with our management team that has embraced the vision since day one, as what we do matters.
Can you introduce us to your AXES platform? What are its key features?
We created IoT-based cloud infrastructure to securely collect and render all real-time information gathered from electronic gaming machines. That data is used by other applications requiring correlated information.
Our key features are based on protection, performance, and prediction.
Firstly, and mostly, our innovative tools protect the information from tampering by IoT, cloud, and AI monitoring, alerts, and alarms. If someone is trying to do anything they are not supposed to, our clients know in real time. And if data is being tampered with, it is quarantined. Protection is key to integral data and that is where we excel.
Secondly, we offer our clients a seamless path to cashless operations. We are fintech at heart. Our focus is to remove cash, coin, and fraud from the casino floor to ensure that human-to-machine transactions are done via a traceable, transparent method. Cashless also provides for critical KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) data as well as Predictive Addictive Gambling (PAG) information which evolves the player session from gambling to gaming, just another form of entertainment with a very low risk of crime or addiction.
Lastly, our clients from the integral base of KYC, AML, and PAG can start to use the multitude of applications we host, such as loyalty and engagement, marketing campaigns, and other tools to manage their performance or operations. That is where our big data methodology offers a deep, rich data experience with the ability to use the past to predict the future.
What would you consider the most serious threats that the gaming and online entertainment industry faces nowadays?
A careless approach to cybersecurity is by far the number one threat. There are still an alarming number of organizations with local, server-based technology approaches. They are getting attacked more and more frequently, resulting in data breaches, intrusions, and ransomware.
There are only a few solutions that get you into the protected zone, and they are all blockchain-based, such as the multiple-tier Denial Of Service technologies that AXES has implemented.
At AXES, we are rather extreme in our security approach because prevention is the only viable cure.
Did you notice any new threats arise as a result of the recent global events?
Yes. Days before the atrocious attacks on Ukraine, we saw an acceleration in intrusion attempts, and they have continued to advance. I do believe that the Russia-Ukraine war is the genesis of a definite and permanent shift to cyberwar.
What cybersecurity measures do you think are going to become crucial in combating these emerging threats?
To put this simply, we must assume that all computers of all employees are definite and easy targets. That means that the primary tool of each employee is now considered a threat. If that employee is a programmer, the threat is exponential.
It is rather easy to protect data on a cloud server today by using blockchain-based security measures and data encryption mechanisms, so the data is useless if stolen. However, if there are no redundancy, resilience, and replication strategies in place to protect all computers, all connections, and real-time surveillance of all connectivity, ransomware will evolve to impede availability and data will become secondary to the ability to work, as networks will become the target.
So, once data is securely migrated from server-based solutions to the cloud, the data is migrated to blockchain-based hashing or securing, the need to ensure that real-time redundancy is achieved by having parallel clouds enabled that can take over in case of unavailability because of an attack. Then, every computer must have multiple security tools to protect who is doing what and why when they are connected to the cloud.
In your opinion, what characteristics make a company an attractive target for fraudsters?
Fraudsters are like thieves trying to attack a house, a business, or even a bank. When considering the value of the attack, their criteria are ease and speed.
If it is easy to find you or if you are not adequately protected… you are a high-risk target.
So, every connection, every piece of data must be evaluated on ease, speed, and value of the attack.
What details do you think every gamer should be vigilant about when navigating the online gaming environment?
One word – trust. Attacks come into your safe zone. So, some things to keep in mind are:
- Your passwords must be random and managed by a password manager that ensures they are changed often and that you do not know them.
- Your computer must have several forms of protection to ensure ransomware protection, antivirus, and other tools depending on your task (such as keystroke and three-factor validation) are maintained.
- Never click on anything that you don’t know or understand. The great thing about the Internet is that millions of people are reporting intrusions and attacks all the time in real time. So, don’t be the first! When you see something new, simply check out what you see by an effortless browser search.
- Might sound stupid but call or text people when you get something strange.
- Trust humans – never trust your computer or your environment. The Internet is a no-trust environment and should be treated as such.
What other aspects of our daily lives do you hope to see secured and enhanced with technology in the next few years?
We now live in a digital world and humans are still analogue.
While the Metaverse is still young, it is really our only hope to protect humans from digital extinction.
The digital twin, emulated from our personal smartphones, with facial recognition and biometrics, must become our protector from exponential identity theft.
Passwords and fingerprints are now dangerous, and we must evolve to real-time, quantitative measurement of identity validation.
Our clients will be protected, as it is our mission to ensure they are safe on a global level, the legitimacy of blockchain will emerge through NFT. We are, each and every one, an NFT.
And finally, what’s next for AXES?
Our next is, as always, to educate and migrate. As we teach our industry how to evolve to a safe, secure, and fun environment, we will migrate more countries, casinos, and clients to our way of thinking which is 100% focused on security and legitimacy.
Our platform evolves every day. More and more applications emerge to serve more clients better. However, the base will always remain to protect the integrity of the data, as that is the center of everything.