On the lookout

Advice for cybersecurity from CyberScout’s CEO Matt Cullina

Cybersecurity has taken center stage lately. However you get your news, it’s hard to scroll through your feed or pick up the paper without seeing news about interesting cyber developments—or concerning data breaches. The digital world is changing daily, which can make it challenging to know where to start to stay safe.

For ten years now, Matt Cullina has been at the forefront of the cyber world as the CEO of CyberScout, a leading provider of identity and data defense services. He watches cyber trends unfold and develops services to respond in real-time. An insurance veteran and former CyberScout client, he now oversees the company of online-security warriors who help protect against online fraud, help manage regulatory compliance and even work as crisis managers.

“We work a lot within the insurance industry, helping assess cyber risks and digital exposure for individuals and businesses,” Matt says.

CyberScout also works with families, helping them prevent cyber risks and providing support in the event of an incident. “We handle thousands of cases, managing everything from project management to digital forensics,” Matt explains.

“Cyber events can affect individuals in many ways – from financial loss to digital exposure to reputational risk. We help them minimize the risks, monitor for threats and manage the damage when a breach occurs.”


Staying a step ahead


As technology and cyber risk changes, so does CyberScout and their solutions. Their team provides pre-loss education services to over 17.5 million households. This helps them spot trends early, and develop real-time solutions.

Education is key, Matt explains, because cyber risks often don’t feel tangible to people until they hear stories and examples. It’s easy to embrace the ways technology can make our lives easier without considering where we might need to be cautious. “There are so many pluses to our digital lives, but there’s also a side you need to be aware of,” he says. “What we’re striving for is empowerment—to give people little steps that can help them avoid a lot of bad situations.”


3 of the top cyber risks to watch


With an eye on these cyber trends, Matt points out three of the biggest areas to be aware of today: electronic-wire transfer fraud, tax fraud and social-engineering scams.

  • Wire transfer fraud occurs when people send money to a fraudulent account. Because it’s different than identify theft, it may not be covered by your bank. “The average take is about $25,000 in these electronic-wire transfer frauds,” Matt states. He advises individuals to be cautious and ask questions when transferring money online.
  • Tax fraud is when someone files taxes in your name, or gains credentials to your online filing in order to divert your tax refund.
  • Social engineering happens when someone uses information available publically on social networks to access your identity. For instance, they could scan your social profile to get information on where you vacation, what car you have, or even your family nicknames—all of which are common security questions for password reset forms. It’s important to check privacy settings and stay aware.

Even if you don’t participate in social media, you could be impersonated online if someone sets up an account in your name. “My advice is, create an account in your name on social media sites, even if you don’t plan to use it.” Matt explains. “That way, no one else can take your name on that site.”


Does your digital presence need attention?


Matt explains that cybersecurity is about being “diligent in a whole new way.” One of these ways is being aware of where your exposures are in the digital world.

For instance, having a public persona can make you more of a target, which is why business leaders, owners and investors are at an increased risk of being targeted online.

Kids and technology present another risk. Matt recommends teaching children cyber safety from a young age. “We spend about 5 hours a day on mobile devices, and kids are even more active,” he says. “You need to educate kids on etiquette in the digital world just like you do in the physical world.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to think about the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-connected devices you use. Each should be managed—not just set to default privacy settings, which are often the most open. The same goes with online and social platforms. Make sure your security and privacy settings are up-to-date and you use a trusted network, especially when so many devices are connected in an IoT world.

It takes effort to decide how public or private you want yourself (and your family!) to be online. But making this decision and sticking to it as you interact digitally can make a big difference.

“It’s important to be thoughtful and methodical about what kind of a relationship you want to have with online entities,” Matt explains.


Cyber insurance that’s in-sync


It’s also important to consider how your insurance addresses cyber risks. Personal cyber insurance has changed a lot in the ten years that Matt has been in the business. “Right now, we’re seeing a movement from online identity theft offerings to much broader personal cyber solutions,” he says.

Recently, Berkley One partnered with CyberScout to offer CyberScout’s LifeStages Identity Management Services as a key part of their cyber solution.

“Berkley One is on the edge of today’s broader cyber solutions,” Matt notes, “They are taking the reins on helping clients manage these emerging risks.”

Through CyberScout, clients can access expertise and services to help manage cyber threats, such as early detection services and a 24/7 assistance line. Matt adds, “We look at the broad picture—it really is a solution that provides clients proactive and reactive support as they manage cyber issues in their life.”

In a digital world that continues changing, there is a lot we can do together by being prepared.

CyberScout offers identity management services; breach education, preparation, response and remediation services; fraud, credit and reputation monitoring services; and cyber security and data privacy consulting.

Berkley One is a Berkley Company.