HBO Should Have Had a GoT Battle Plan for Cyber Risk

What advice can Littlefinger bring to Digital Risk Management?

If you aren’t caught up with last weekend’s Game of Thrones, go stream it now. There be minor spoilers ahead.

We know you are concerned with the cyber risk that slips through the cracks of rigid frameworks, point solutions, and static assessments. Most organizations are surprised by a digital incident because they didn’t see it coming.

News began circling this week that a reported 1.5TB of data was stolen from the HBO network, including employee data and data pertaining to Game of Thrones. While the details of the incident continue to unfold, we at Emergent are more interested in how our scenario-based risk management approach might have prevented, or at least preempted, it.

A likely-missed scene in last week’s episode could have served as a warning to HBO, if they had only known where to look.

A common refrain we hear from large hacks of this nature (SONY, The U.S. Federal Government, and others) is “we should have seen this coming!” The failing of cybersecurity is often not technical; we can control for or mitigate many incidents. The failure is in anticipating and quickly assessing those emergent risks that we have suspicions about.

Most digital and cyber risk assessments are manual, paper-driven exercises where representatives from several departments “table-top” bad-day incidents. They may do a manual data-call to pull together some metrics, but on the whole they are using their gut-instincts to look at five to ten scenarios. What we know from history is that the scenario that catches you unaware is typically the one you weren’t considering.

Imagine our delight, then, during last week’s Game of Throne episode “The Spoils of War,” when Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish said this:

“Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.”

This sounds very much like Emergent’s Scenario-based Swarming AI approach to digital risk. Our dynamically-driven cyber risk model uses an ontology of nearly one thousand data objects to describe a risk exposure scenario. If you model out five or ten scenarios of concern, the machine imagination system can extrapolate and suggest another fifty or sixty you weren’t thinking about. This allows you to almost literally “fight every battle.” Our swarming AI then explores those scenarios, using their interconnectedness, to gather just enough metadata from your environment to give you the “heads up” if any of the scenarios are more exposed to risk than your appetite allows.

With Emergent, every cyber risk that happens will be something that you’ve seen before, and you’ve anticipated.

We can’t wait to see what happens this week on GoT. Maybe dragons “swarming”?

For more information, and to learn how you can see around the corner and change the risk conversation, visit us at www.endsecurity.com.