This article was included a new book entitled Finland – 100 Years of Success that celebrates the centennial of Finland on the 6th of December, 2017.
When Risto Siilasmaa was 15 years old, he dreamed of coding the world’s greatest adventure game. But fate had other plans and led him to establish one of the world’s leading information security companies. F-Secure was born when the Internet was first being introduced to homes and online threats were still unknown by the general public.
Risto Siilasmaa and Petri Allas founded F-Secure by filling in the company registration forms as a course assignment at school. Originally named Data Fellows, the company’s early cash flow came from training and consulting. As the friends’ client base grew, they recruited employees with a notice on a school bulletin board. They invested more and more of their profits into hiring programmers, and the company gradually expanded into software development. During F-Secure’s early years, Risto Siilasmaa typed out all the contracts, designed the logo, managed the books, paid the bills and salaries, and even provided customer support.
The company grew quickly and hired Mikko Hyppönen, one of today’s most renowned information security experts, to package its security update floppy discs for delivery by mail. The company changed its name to F-Secure. And although it was shaken by the bursting of the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, its firm foothold and strong vision helped it through the worst. Instead of individual anti-virus software programs, it shifted its focus to developing information security services.
As broadband connections spread in Finnish homes, F-Secure offered information security services to network operators to protect broadband users from online threats, which had become very real problem for many people and organizations. The company’s timing was right, and it started growing again. Threats increased as the number of users grew, and F-Secure often fought cyberattacks day and night. In the early days of the Internet, individual hackers created various viruses just to see how far they could spread. Today’s malware and spyware “phish” for bank access codes and corporate secrets. Information security is an endless race against parties who are constantly developing new techniques and strategies to exploit vulnerabilities.
Businesses pay special attention to information security. On request, F-Secure performs “red teaming” test attacks to find vulnerabilities in a company’s security systems. These exercises also improve F-Secure’s understanding of hackers and possible threats. The sector is constantly evolving, and attackers do not allow data security providers a moment’s rest. The most advanced attackers can get through any defenses, so in addition to prevention, rapid detection of data breaches is vital. A new, important area of investment for F-Secure is developing its detection capabilities with the use of artificial intelligence. Every new smart device means a new vulnerability, whether it is a computer, tablet, or mobile-operated lighting system.
From its home base in Finland, F-Secure offers its data security expertise to companies and consumers around the world. Finland is esteemed as a leader in information security thanks to its high level of know-how and its impartial and reliable reputation. In an industry where trust is everything, Finland is an excellent place to call home.
If you want to be part of the next 100 years of Finland’s success, check out our open positions.