Carnegie Mellon University

Rohyt Belani, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cofense Inc.

Enhancing Intelligent Email Security

Rohyt Belani (ENG 2002) and his company, Cofense, protect some of the world’s largest businesses with email security solutions that leverage advanced automation and artificial intelligence.

“Email is still the medium of choice cyber criminals use to hack into government agencies and entities critical to infrastructure, financial systems and health care,” Rohyt says. “My co-founder and I were just baffled that everyone looked at this challenge as people being the problem.”

Cofense takes a different, more human-centered and educational approach to ensuring email security. With a network of more than 35 million users, Cofense uses real-time, crowdsourced intelligence from around the globe to help companies stay ahead of threats.

“We believe that people are smart. If you equip them with the right security training, they can become your front line of defense against phishing threats,” Rohyt says.

The first step is training employees to spot potential threats by deploying phishing simulations to all users. When these harmless-but-authentic-looking simulations hit inboxes, employees are conditioned to spot and report email threats immediately.

As users report potential threats, suspicious emails are quickly analyzed and threats are automatically removed from inboxes company-wide. A profile of the threat is created and added to the Cofense database. It’s then shared with the rest of the Cofense global network, significantly reducing the chances of a security breach for customers worldwide.

“We’re focused on leveraging crowdsourced intelligence to help customers prevent attacks from getting to the inbox,” Rohyt says. “People are fueling the ecosystem, identifying the threats and actually stopping real attacks.”

Story by Elizabeth Speed