ESET cybersecurity website launch in French likely to increase strong Québec presence

The availability in French of ESET's cybersecurity information site is likely to boost their already significant presence in Québec,

James Chalmers, director of partner sales and alliances at ESET Canada

Cybersecurity firm ESET has announced the availability in French of their WeLiveSecurity website, which provides cybersecurity information for both consumers and the commercial market. The company sees it as likely to strengthen its presence in Québec, which is already disproportionately strong compared to their business in the rest of Canada.

Slovakian-headquartered ESET does business globally, and the French-language site is aimed at all French speaking geos – not just Québec. French becomes the fifth language in which the website’s content is available, joining English, Spanish, German, and Portuguese. Nevertheless, ESET expects it to be a big help in Québec.

“WeLiveSecurity is focused on cybersecurity, and driving the ESET brand as an expert authority,” said James Chalmers, director of partner sales and alliances at ESET Canada. “Establishing the ESET brand in the consumer space also establishes it in the business market, because using ESET consumer products translates into a preference for ESET business products when they go back to the office.”

It took a year to get the French-language content site up and running.

“The content basically falls into three categories,” said Alexis Dorais-Joncas, security intelligence team lead at ESET, who also heads up the Montréal office. “There is news and event coverage related to cybersecurity, which will interest mostly commercial customers. There are also articles about how people can better protect themselves in their homes, and little things they can do to improve safety online. The third type of information is for other cybersecurity professionals, which usually comes from our researchers. This helps improve global knowledge of the tactics used by cybercriminals, and positions us as an expert who knows what we are talking about.”

An example, posted on October 30, was a story on ESET’s role in taking down the Windigo hacking syndicate and getting one of the perpetrators a 46 month jail term, in both French and English.

“Launching the French-language site helps demonstrate our commitment to doing business in Québec,” Chalmers said. “We want to be able to do business in French there. We have 10 ESET employees in the region and they are all bilingual so that they can do business in both French and English.”

Chalmers noted that Québec already makes up a large portion of ESET’s Canadian business.

“Both in the commercial and consumer markets, the east region [Québec and the Atlantic provinces] is half of our business, and Québec is most of that,” he said. “We’ve been based in Québec longer them elsewhere, opening a research and development facility in 2009. Our Toronto office didn’t open until 2015. We have a much stronger presence in Québec than in western Canada.”

Alexis Dorais-Joncas, security intelligence team lead at ESET

“ESET’s first presence here in 2009 was one single person doing research in Montréal,” Dorais-Joncas said. “The security landscape then was very different. There were very few security researchers, and there were a small cluster of people in Montréal working on malware analysis. In 2011, ESET set this up as an official legal entity. At that time, we were hosted in the École Polytechnique de Montréal’s technology incubator for small businesses, where we would be for five years. We had a collaboration agreement with the school, where we funded some grad student work on cybersecurity.”

ESET moved out of the Polytechnique last year, and established a 6500 square foot office in downtown Montréal.

“We were able to design the whole floor to our custom needs,” Dorais-Joncas said. It’s also an onsite work location, not remote, as all the employees except one work there.”

“That Montreal R&D centre is really amazing,” Chalmers said. “It’s a large investment we have made in that region.”

It’s also a key as to why ESET has been so successful in Québec.

“Alexis and his team have actively worked with partners in Canada,” Chalmers said. “One of the biggest partners we have is right across the street from them. That’s important to partners – having access to the research development team. Going forward, a critical part of our strategy is to continue to let partners engage with this team.”

Chalmers noted that ESET’s task in Québec is different than in the rest of Canada.

“It is slightly different in that we have to address the language issue,” he said. “Many Francophones struggle with emails at them in English. That can make them more vulnerable to things like phishing, because they are used to French. They won’t always catch things like the spelling mistakes common in phishing messages. So it’s even more important in Québec to promote security awareness.”

Dorais-Joncas also pointed out that most phishing attacks are in English, albeit English with poor spelling and worse grammar.

“The amount of French-language phishing is very limited,” he said. “I’ve seen some SMS messages in French, but overall it’s quite rare. Desjardins Bank is targeted in Québec by scammers the same way as the rest of the banks – but most of these attacks are in English!”