Adversarial Emulation’s Role as Transformative Agent in Cyber Insurance

It's not news to anyone reading this blog that the cyber landscape is rapidly changing. Digital threats are becoming more sophisticated and pervasive, and organizations are constantly seeking innovative approaches to bolster their defenses. As a side effect, insurance companies grapple with more claims, uneasiness, and uncertainty. Many are actively rethinking policies while they try to understand how they assess and measure risk more consistently and analytically.

One such proactive approach for insurance companies is adversarial emulation. Adversarial emulation, particularly production-safe breach and attack simulation (BAS+) platforms like SCYTHE's BAS+, offers a proactive strategy for identifying and mitigating potential security risks before they escalate into full-blown cyber incidents. 

This blog will discuss my point of view on how adversarial emulation, as a tool for threat emulation and validation, emerges as a game-changer for cyber insurance, providing immediate insights into an organization's risk profile, enhancing cyber resilience, and ultimately shaping the future of cybersecurity risk management and insurance underwriting.

Understanding Adversarial Emulation

Adversarial emulation involves simulating cyber attacks under controlled or normal business conditions to test an organization's defenses. It mimics real-world cyber threats, from sophisticated ransomware campaigns to advanced persistent threats (APTs), allowing organizations to assess the effectiveness of their security measures and level of cyber hygiene across endpoints, cloud services, and more. Unlike traditional penetration testing, adversarial emulation offers a comprehensive approach, replicating actual adversaries' tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This method enables organizations to identify vulnerabilities, measure a threat's potential material impact, test security controls, validate cyber hygiene practices, test Incident Response procedures in a controlled manner, and ensure the effectiveness of security protocols such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and two-factor authentication (2FA).

BAS+ Game-Changing Potential for Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance plays a crucial role in the modern digital economy, offering a safety net for organizations against the financial repercussions of cyber incidents. However, the dynamic nature of cyber threats poses a significant challenge for insurers in accurately assessing risk and determining premiums. Adversarial emulation introduces a transformative solution to this challenge, providing both insurers and insured organizations with a more precise, data-driven understanding of cyber risk exposure.


Immediate Insight into Organizational Risks

Adversarial emulation facilitates a deep dive into an organization's security posture, offering immediate insights into potential vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of existing security controls. Organizations can identify and address gaps in their defenses by simulating real-world attacks, significantly reducing the likelihood of successful cyber attacks. This proactive approach to cybersecurity enhances an organization's resilience and provides valuable data to insurers, enabling them to assess risk more accurately and tailor their cyber insurance policies accordingly.


Validating Cyber Hygiene and Best Practices

A key aspect of adversarial emulation is its ability to validate the implementation and effectiveness of cyber hygiene practices across an organization's endpoints. Moreover, it tests the robustness of security protocols, such as MFA/2FA, ensuring they function as intended to thwart unauthorized access. Regularly conducting such simulations helps maintain high standards of cyber hygiene, an essential component of cyber risk management that insurers increasingly consider when underwriting policies.

Enhancing Cyber Resilience

The insights gained from adversarial emulation enable organizations to fortify their defenses, enhancing their overall cyber resilience. By understanding and mitigating their exposures, organizations can significantly reduce the incidence and impact of cyber attacks. This not only minimizes the likelihood of incurring a cyber insurance claim but also positions the organization as a lower risk from an insurer's perspective, potentially leading to more favorable insurance terms.

Shaping Cyber Insurance Policies

For insurers, the detailed insights provided by adversarial emulation allow for more nuanced and accurate risk assessment. This data-driven approach to underwriting enables insurers to develop more customized insurance products that reflect each organization's specific risk profile and security maturity. As a result, organizations that proactively engage in adversarial emulation and demonstrate strong cyber resilience could benefit from reduced premiums and more comprehensive coverage options.


The Role of SCYTHE's BAS+ Platform

SCYTHE's BAS+ platform exemplifies the cutting-edge capabilities of adversarial emulation. BAS+ enables organizations to rigorously test their security controls and response protocols by offering a realistic and scalable approach to simulating cyber attacks. The platform's no-code integration framework facilitates seamless compatibility with a wide range of security tools, enhancing the depth and breadth of emulation campaigns. Furthermore, the incremental execution of campaigns, coupled with the platform's ability to document and assess the outcomes of these simulations, provides organizations with granular insights into their cybersecurity posture.



As cyber threats continue to evolve, the need for innovative and proactive approaches to cybersecurity and risk management becomes increasingly apparent. Adversarial emulation represents a significant advancement in how organizations can safeguard against cyber threats while providing cyber insurers with a more reliable basis for underwriting policies. Through platforms like SCYTHE's BAS+, organizations can bolster their cyber defenses and improve their standing in the cyber insurance market. As such, adversarial emulation stands out as a game-changer for the cyber insurance industry, fostering a more resilient digital ecosystem for businesses and insurers alike.


In light of the transformative potential of adversarial emulation for the cyber insurance industry, it becomes essential to outline strategic recommendations for both insurance providers and insurers. These recommendations aim to leverage the benefits of adversarial emulation to enhance cyber risk management, refine underwriting processes, and ultimately foster a more resilient cyber ecosystem.


For Insurance Providers:

  1. Incorporate Adversarial Emulation into Risk Assessment: Insurance providers should consider integrating adversarial emulation outcomes into their risk assessment frameworks. By evaluating the results of these simulations (threat and hygiene), insurers can gain a deeper understanding of an organization's security posture and risk exposure, enabling more accurate policy pricing and terms.
  2. Encourage the Adoption of Adversarial Emulation: Providers can play a pivotal role in promoting the adoption of adversarial emulation among their clients. This could be achieved through incentives such as reduced premiums for organizations that regularly perform adversarial emulation tests and demonstrate cyber solid resilience.
  3. Offer Cyber Security Improvement Services: Insurance companies could expand their offerings to include cybersecurity improvement services, such as adversarial emulation, vulnerability assessments, and security training. By helping clients improve their cybersecurity posture, insurers can reduce the likelihood of claims and foster a safer cyber environment.
  4. Collaborate with Adversarial Emulation Solution Providers: Establishing partnerships with providers of adversarial emulation solutions, like SCYTHE, can enable insurance companies to offer these services at a preferential rate to their clients. Such collaborations can also facilitate the development of tailored insurance products that align with different organizations' security needs and risk profiles.
  5. Educate Clients on Cyber Risk Management: Insurers should undertake initiatives to educate their clients on the importance of comprehensive cyber risk management, including the role of adversarial emulation in identifying and mitigating potential threats. This educational effort can help clients understand the value of investing in proactive cybersecurity measures.


For Insurers:

  1. Integrate Adversarial Emulation into Cyber Security Strategies: Organizations should incorporate adversarial emulation into their regular cybersecurity practices. By doing so, they can proactively identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their defenses, enabling timely remediation and strengthening their resilience against cyber threats.
  2. Leverage Results for Insurance Negotiations: The insights gained from adversarial emulation exercises can be leveraged during insurance policy negotiations. Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity and maintaining a strong security posture can aid in securing more favorable insurance terms.
  3. Collaborate with Insurance Providers for Best Practices: Insurers should seek to collaborate closely with their insurance providers to understand how adversarial emulation and other cybersecurity measures are evaluated within the underwriting process. This collaboration can help ensure that cybersecurity efforts are aligned with the expectations of insurance providers, maximizing the benefits for the insured organization.
  4. Regularly Update Cyber Security Measures: Cyber threats are constantly evolving, making it crucial for organizations to continuously update and refine their cybersecurity measures. Regular adversarial emulation exercises can help ensure security controls remain effective against the latest threat scenarios.
  5. Document and Analyze Adversarial Emulation Outcomes: Comprehensive documentation and analysis of adversarial emulation outcomes are essential. This information should inform ongoing security strategy adjustments and demonstrate to insurance providers the organization's commitment to maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture.


By adopting these recommendations, insurance providers and insured organizations can mutually benefit from the enhanced cyber security insights and resilience offered by adversarial emulation. As the cyber landscape continues to evolve, integrating advanced cybersecurity practices such as adversarial emulation into the fabric of cyber risk management and insurance underwriting will be pivotal in navigating the complexities of digital threats and vulnerabilities.