Cyber Threat Intel is a phrase that has been increasingly in the public eye in the past decade. Still, it is a concept that not everyone is well versed in. Today we asked Cowbell’s Director of Threat Intel, Matthieu Chan Tsin to explain what Cyber Threat Intel means and why it is so important for American businesses.
First, What is your background and why did you decide to join Cowbell?
My background is in intelligence & cyber operations. I decided to join Cowbell because of the challenge of working for a younger, accelerated-growth company. My vision for Cowbell also aligns with the overall goal of the company – which goes far beyond delivering cyber insurance as a service but aims at building partnerships with companies that need help and guidance with cyber risk management and are heavily targeted. Cowbell’s amazing internal culture was also an important factor for me.
What exactly is Threat intel?
Threat Intelligence is a complex, multidisciplinary, and still growing field. It consists of gathering information and creating analytic models that can be used to assist with many aspects of decision making. One of the exercises we go through daily is quantifying and qualifying new threats to understand how likely they are to impact policyholders’ networks and how much damage they could cause.
What are your responsibilities at Cowbell?
As the Director of Threat Intel, I am constantly looking for ways to enhance our capabilities and expand our analysis to defend our policyholders.
What are the biggest challenges of your role?
Constantly being on the lookout for the next threat. There is no time to lean back and rest. Threats evolve very quickly and are becoming more and more sophisticated. Every new software and every new system update might provide bad actors with the opportunity to attack and infiltrate companies’ systems.
Where do you see threat intel going in the next year?
That is the billion dollar question. Threat intelligence as a discipline is maturing and becoming more and more effective. Professionals from different fields – intelligence, engineering, data science, cyber, information security, etc. – are cooperating on threat intelligence, which is enhancing all aspects of the discipline and our detection, mitigation, and alerting capabilities.
“Every new software […] might provide bad actors with the opportunity to attack and infiltrate companies’ systems.”
Cyber threat intel can be an overwhelming concept. What is something about threat intel that you need everybody to understand?
Many are still operating under the assumption that cyber actors are criminals who are only financially motivated. But the reality is that cyber has been weaponized and is now one more tool in the hands of nations for economic, political, and military influence. For example, the actors who target U.S. SMEs are sophisticated and follow agendas that go beyond stealing money. It is a David vs. Goliath scenario. In today’s interconnected cyber environment, forgetting to update a system, even for a few days, is like opening the front door of your business, your house, and your clients’ and vendors’ houses. No company, no network, and no machine are too small to be targeted.
Is there something else you want to share with the reader?
I am excited about working at Cowbell. We have a great vision for our company, our policyholders, and our partners. A lot of what we can do to harden networks is about educating our policyholders and partners about cyber threats and mitigation strategies, and I look forward to working with our client-facing teams. Cyberthreats are constantly evolving, therefore there is a lot of exciting and important work ahead of us.
To view Matthieu’s work in action, we encourage every SME to request their Cowbell Factors (risk ratings) and understand how their security fares against industry peers. It’s free and you get insights on security weaknesses and how to fix them.