XCyber Group: Focusing on the Human Side of Cybersecurity

When former UK government intelligence officers launched cybersecurity firm XCyber Group in 2016, they approached the online protection of clients’ data, brands and reputations with a singular focus: the best defense entails understanding the motives behind attacks.

This focus on the “Human Side of Cyber” — and the unique, resulting insights and approach from the company — has resulted in nothing but praise from XCyber clients, who’ve used the firm’s expertise to better protect their assets, and prepare themselves for the cybersecurity challenges of an all-digital world.

Tom Maples, head of sales and marketing for XCyber Group, spoke with MESA about how the company goes about identifying the motives of cyber criminals, gives its clients ideas on how to reduce the threats they face, and how understanding “why” attacks take places is just as important as stopping them.

MESA: How did XCyber Group first come on the scene, what was the impetus for the company?

Maples: In short, the company was established to fill an apparent gap in the market, providing bespoke solutions to protect people, data, brands and reputation from the myriad of challenges presented by the digital domain.

This was not just solving IT security problems but also the increase in digital transformation combined with the exponential rise in online criminality that left a void for services across the themes of trust, safety, security and value.

MESA: What are the biggest cybersecurity challenges facing companies today, and how does XCyber help its clients confront them?

Maples: It’s less about technical complexity (while that does exist) and more how to overcome the challenges presented by the interpersonal dynamics of criminal behaviour – what we call “The Human Side of Cyber,” i.e., the motives, identity and methods of the person behind the attack are more important than the technology involved.

Because of the increase in the accessibility of technology, primary motivators and lack of overheads; criminals can innovate in the digital environment faster than companies can react to them.

MESA: XCyber’s team brings a wealth of experience working across numerous government departments and the UK’s intelligence and security agencies. How does that experience translate into the unique cybersecurity services XCyber provides for private companies?

Maples: Our clients consistently tell us that we provide a “unique insight” and a “unique approach” in solving their challenges.

The “state-grade” elements of what we do include how we administratively structure our responses to threats – using flexible, well-structured, systematic processes.

MESA: How does XCyber create data-driven approaches to its services, what does that entail?

Maples: It is about a fundamental understanding of:

• Domain knowledge: The geography of the internet and the mechanics of the digital environment.
• Target expertise. Deep understanding of the behaviour and fallibility of targets.
• Proprietary technology: Maintaining our technology as the leading-edge capability.
• Being a trusted partner. Providing discretion and candour.
• Delivering results. Outcome focused and value driven.

MESA: What are some of XCyber’s favourite use case stories in the media and entertainment space, and why?

Maples: De-anonymising criminal networks and achieving tactical disruptions are always a favourite, but increasingly adopting a more strategic approach to disruption — identifying thematic trends and breaking down problems in a practical way — has been critical to helping our clients develop sustained, meaningful impact on reducing the threats they face from bad actors.

Consistently binding client’s need to understand attacker influences with the reasoning behind their exhibited behaviours. Particularly in the newer digital regions of the world where an increase in online content piracy, for example, is increasingly prevalent – our clients need to understand “why” these issues are occurring, just as much as the “how” and “where.”

MESA: What’s next for XCyber, what advances and offerings for the cybersecurity space can we expect from you next?

Maples: We are serial innovators and continue to develop novel but practical solutions and insight for our clients whatever they face — our offerings are built from understanding genuine client needs, as they evolve.

Tom is an experienced operations and sales manager, having developed, trained and implemented teams and solutions across both large and small technology businesses. Previously, serving seven years in the British army as a frontline combat reconnaissance officer, he has been exposed to some unique and challenging professional environments. [email protected]