Max Sheridan —
Cyber insurance trailblazer Coalition sounded the horn last week with a $3.5-billion late-stage, post-money valuation. Their mission: to give organizations of all sizes real-time assessments of their cyber vulnerabilities with cutting-edge machine learning. With that kind of backing, an IPO may be just around the corner.
Fixing a Broken System
Coalition’s approach is radically different from most cybersecurity models in play today, which tend to focus on beefing up tech and then plugging the holes in the event of an attack.
The problem with that approach, according to Coalition co-founder Joshua Motta, is that tech alone hasn’t done much to help organizations cope with the rising tide of ransomware attacks, phishing scams, and other assorted online fraud, including identity theft, which is at an all-time high.1
From Cyber Tools to Cyber Risk
Coalition’s solution — shifting the cybersecurity conversation away from fraud-busting cyber tools to informed risk management — should help organizations not only answer questions like “What tech do I have to stop this?” but get them to start thinking about “How vulnerable am I right now?”
The answer to the first question, according to Motta and Coalition co-founder John Hering, has sadly been “nothing strong enough” for too long. Grifters are worming their way into complex systems that are a lot more vulnerable than we ever suspected (T-Mobile’s gargantuan 2021 data breach, to name only one hot mess) and wrecking them top to bottom.
And they’re doing it relentlessly, with ransomware attacks striking U.S. organizations an average of seven times every hour in 2021.2
A Cyber Crusade
Coalition isn’t just looking to help massive companies like T-Mobile stay safe; they have their sights set on just about any entity that relies on computers to do business: healthcare, schools, the public sector, manufacturing, legal, e-commerce, etc. And they aren’t just promising to protect digital systems. Coalition aims to keep computer-automated industrial processes (factory machinery, for example) malware-free, too.
The 315-employee Coalition will use BinaryEdge, a platform they bought in 2020, to scan terabytes of online data in order to map the “attack surface” of organizations. This will give the company an incredibly granular edge in assessing real-time breach probability.
I’m Not a Business. What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
There are no Coalition personal plans in the cards at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt their proactive model to keep your own household safe.
First, you can choose a smartphone with a privacy-first OS, like Apple’s freshly launched iOS 15. Apple has really taken some smart steps with this latest release not only to protect against invasive tracking from the likes of Facebook, but to give users the almost VPN-like power to keep their browsing malware-free and anonymous.
Two, you can reduce network vulnerabilities by sealing off your day-to-day browsing with a quality VPN. John Binns, the 21-year-old hacker who broke into T-Mobile, said he was able to do so by simply identifying an unprotected router!
Three, if something phishy does end up in your inbox, messaging app, or browser window, don’t click on it. Phishing attacks have gotten off-the-charts sophisticated these days and can outsmart even hardened security experts.
If you take these precautions (and practice good password hygiene), you’ll be making yourself a difficult target for most fraudsters, whose most powerful tool isn’t the tech at their disposal, but simply the unpreparedness of their victims.
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