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Flipping the Script on Cyberattacks

Historically, cybersecurity was a defensive game – the when, where and how was often in the hands of the attacker. But protecting our customers’ data requires a more proactive approach in this age of ever-increasing data breaches and cybersecurity incidents. That means Mastercard is focused on cybersecurity 24/7/365—and we’re taking this month (National Cyber Security Awareness Month, also known as NCSAM) to share the exciting ways we’re staying ahead of attacks.

Recently, we hosted futurist Brian David Johnson to our Operations and Technology headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri to lead an exercise in “threatcasting.” This initiative brings together a diverse group of practitioners to envision future means of attack—and improve our defenses for the entire cyber ecosystem, not just the parts that touch Mastercard directly. In this exercise, our employees and partners worked together to forecast future scenarios, a decade or more into the future, and put markers and plans in place to tackle future scenarios as they develop.

A key part of this exercise was to bring in not only a wide-ranging team from within our walls, but our customers and partners as well. In creating this inclusive team, we were able to develop strong ideas and capture a wider view of threats facing us and opportunities for the future. These attacks target not only our business but the entire payment and technology ecosystem. Criminals do not care about the boundaries between us and our partners, and sharing defensive techniques and building game plans with our customers and partners is critical to the safety of all.

By using tools such as threatcasting, we gain the ability to combat oncoming threats, allowing us to take the initiative against cybercriminals. But, this is just one tool in our arsenal of ways we protect our customers’ data from attackers: from the Fusion Center, where we bring together experts from across the organization to monitor and respond to threats, to the Cyber Readiness Institute, where we share defense techniques with our partners to further protect the entire financial sector.

As Brian David Johnson shared, “The future isn’t fixed. Organizations and companies build the future when they are able to take clear, deliberate steps together.” In adopting this new way of thinking, we can approach the future with the thought of “what can we do?” With our employees, and partners, we can take the initiative against criminals and create a more secure future for our customers together.