10 Questions with… Richard De Vere

We get an insight into the world of The Anti Social Engineers, and how they're pioneering cyber-security.

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An insight into the world of The AntiSocial Engineer

As part of our cyber & crime awareness month, we’re taking some time out to chat with Richard De Vere, director of The AntiSocial Engineer. A company focussed on analysing and improving security defences against social engineering attacks. All as part of our drive to help you be more aware about the importance of cyber security, and how to protect yourself against the threats we all face.

This is the first in a series of ’10 Questions with…’ from us, where over the coming weeks and months we’ll be getting an insight into some of the brightest, best and most knowledgeable figures in and around the insurance industry.

So without further ado, let’s hear what Richard had to say:

What brought you into cyber security in the first place?

The desire to change the industry. I was personally affected by cybercrime and wanted to help, this meant I had to re-skill myself and embark on some very steep learning curves. The intial first few months I was disgusted by an industry that didn’t want to solve crime but focussed on making money… I swore I would work to change this balance and provide help to those that I could.

And what is it that keeps you excited about and motivated by it?

Every day there is a new problem, something to defend against, something to learn. If you stand still for a month you are old news, so it’s an industry where you can rise fast and fall faster if you don’t keep up.

What do you see as the biggest growing threat to the average business in the UK?

Negligence. Very few things we work on are truly new and pioneering! Many online cyber crimes have been documented for decades – but in the ever complicated world of information security, companies fail to do the basics.

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

I can recall many times where I have had this thought and considered it can’t get any better, but it does. Because I desperately want to remove crime from the shoulders of the police I really enjoy our collaboration with police forces. Being given a medal by the Metropolitan Police made me rather proud, but also training very senior figures on social engineering comes a close second. Many achievements touch me on a very personal level.

What piece of tech can’t you live without?

iPhone. I grew up in a rather underprivileged fashion so I still haven’t got over the novelty of being able to buy a nice phone or top of the range laptop at will – and hope I never will either!

In cyber security, risk and insurance, what do you think needs to change soon?

A reflection on the industry as a whole. If there is a collision with a vehicle, or a domestic burglary, insurance is very effective at replacing material goods. After all, it is just an asset that can usually be replaced. But insurance cannot continue in this traditional fashion. Post breach customer data can leak, lives can be damaged, it has a very real impact on many and money alone will not ‘make things whole’ so easily. Businesses need services and help proactively to stop themselves inadvertently adding to the global cybercrime problem.

Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year, and why?

BSides. They have a style of informal networking that is always great fun.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

What would you do if money was no object. What do you desire… it wasn’t advice given to me personally but the words of Alan Watts in a video that changed my life. The gist is find something you really desire to do, become a master at it and you will be successful. In doing so you fulfill one of life’s main objectives and you will escape the rat race in doing so – because what it is you do will be enjoyable.

If you had to choose the single most important piece of advice you’d give to businesses, what would it be?

Drop the stifled business approach – the little meetings, the forced desire to please your auditors, the games we play to look the best at what we do. Get to understand security because it’s the right thing to do.

Where do you see yourself and The AntiSocial Engineer in five years time?

I can neither confirm nor deny that we have a clear business strategy.

A huge thanks to Richard for sharing his thoughts on cyber security, what businesses should be doing to protect themselves, and for his view on both life and career.

It’s a valuable insight into how to start protecting yourself and your business against cyber threats, and why it’s so important. By combining top notch cyber security like that offered by The AntiSocial Engineers, alongside comprehensive cyber insurance and crime insurance, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything within your power to keep your business safe.

To make sure you’re properly protected, sign up to read our whitepaper on cyber security and insurance, then get in touch with our team for a confidential review of your existing insurance arrangements to make sure you’re safe.

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