Cybersecurity Q&A with Artem Seagall

Artem Seagall is the Senior Director Information Security at PPJV. He was hired this past December to lead the Information Security program, applying best security practices to defend PPJV’s business, products and services, and assets from cyber crime.

Q: What kinds of things will you be doing in your role as Senior Director Information Security? 

My goal is to align PPJV’s information security program to financial industry best practices and to NIST Cyber Security Framework (CSF), while creating a comprehensive and continuous security visibility around all assets, including payment platforms, end-users and everything in between.  Another aspect of this is creating security awareness across the credit unions and PPJV eco-system, to ensure that everyone stays aware and vigilant of various cyber threats that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Q: What got you interested in this kind of role?

I found a deep interest in anything related to information and cybersecurity when I saw my college professor capture my password on the network and share it with me.  That was about 25 years ago, and my passion towards security and privacy has been becoming stronger, as this field continuously changes and provides a lot of learning opportunities.

Over the years I’ve held various progressive roles in Information Security, including with a financial services startup, an online gambling company, a security software vendor, a major Canadian bank, and, most recently, an insurance services startup.  I am really excited about becoming a part of the PPJV team, and applying my skills to enhance the safety and security of everything we do.

Q: Give us your top 3 tips for staff in terms of cybersecurity.

My top three tips are:

    1. Be careful online:  It is like the early Wild West out there.  And always remember that it is not being paranoid if they are really out to get you.
    2. Use MFA (multi-factor authentication) everywhere you can – for work and at home.  You will not regret doing it, but you might regret not doing it in the future.
    3. Look at everything that happens around you from a security point of view: Is this person supposed to be here? Does this sound too good to be true?  Do I still need this access?  Am I expecting to receive this message?

It’s also important to remember that fraud prevention is everyone’s responsibility. On any given platform, you should use the cybersecurity tools available to you. MFA is key, but depending on the platform you’re on, you should also look at using strong passwords and setting transaction limits. And it’s not just about technical solutions. You have to be cyber aware and help those around you—coworkers, end users etc., also be cyber aware.

Q: What’s one thing that keeps you up at night?

One of my biggest professional worries is that the bad actors appear to be evolving at a faster pace than the cyber defense industry.  With the evolution of various attacker groups into full pledged online businesses with their own marketplaces, support call centers, and more, bad actors are becoming better organized than in the past and are attempting to get their hands on anything that can be used for profit.

Q: What’s the latest cyber threat out there that people might not have heard of but really should know about?

There is no single threat that comes to mind, however it is worth mentioning that the quality of most known threats did evolve significantly with the introduction of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like ChatGPT.  Bad actors are able to use these tools to improve the quality of malware, phishing content, fake websites, and many other type of cyberattacks, making them more difficult to detect and to protect against.

Q: What resources would you recommend to those who want to stay up to date on cybersecurity issues and trends?