Cyber Security Threats Are Here to Stay

Target’s recent security breach of 40 million credit and debit card numbers has most consumers scrambling to take measures towards protecting their private information and accounts. Unfortunately, in a world that revolves around technology, cyber security breaches are inevitable because hackers are evolving at the same rate, if not faster, than the technology protective services out there.

WatchGuard, a private business security company, recently released its 2014 cyber-threat predictions, a list compiled by a team of cyber security research experts. At the top of the list is computer kidnapping, or threats caused by “ransomware,” a class of malicious software that tries to take a computer hostage, according to WatchGuard analysts.

Also at the top of the list is the United States national healthcare website, HealthCare.gov. Already having received criticism on the overall functionality of the website when it first went live, The Associated Press obtained an internal government memo detailing the Obama administration’s knowledge on the security concerns of the website. Due to insufficient testing, the site was described as a “high-security risk,” and it was suggested that a security team address these risks, as well as conduct additional testing on the site, according to The Associated Press.

WatchGuard analysts said the value in the healthcare website’s data is very attractive for a cyber-attack target, and that “security researchers have already pointed out minor security issues like evidence of unsuccessful web application attacks and attempted Denial-of-Service attacks.” Also on the list are hacking cars, watches, toys, and medical devices, state-sponsored attacks, meaner malware, and exploiting cyber-psychology.

However, there are steps that can be taken towards eliminating the risks for a cyber-privacy breach. The most important thing to realize is that everyone, from an individual to a small or large business, is susceptible to a security breach.

Tips for Businesses

The best way to protect your business from a security breach is by investing in a cyber-liability policy, According to a 2012 Chubb Insurance survey, 65 percent of public companies do not have a cyber-liability policy, yet they identify cyber risk as their number one concern. This type of insurance protects your business from a security breach regarding the private information of clients, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and medical information.

Cyber-Liability policies can include the following protective services:

  1. Third Party Liability– Covers alleged wrongful acts arising from the performance of services as a technology professional or consultant.
  2. Privacy Liability– Covers loss of personal identifiable employee and customer information.
  3. Security Liability– Covers failure to prevent the entrance or spread of a virus/hacker attack.
  4. Website Media Liability– Covers libel, slander, and copyright infringement from your website content.
  5. First Party Cyber Extortion– Covers expenses to respond to a threat to harm or release your data as well as to cover ransom payments if necessary.
  6. First Party Privacy Breach Response– Customer notification expense, credit monitoring expense, computer and legal forensic expense, credit and identity repair expense.
  7. First Party Business Interruption, Data Recovery Extra Expense, and Regulatory Defense and Penalty.

Tips for Individuals

Credit cards and debit cards make it easier for consumers to make purchases online and in-store. However, every swipe of your card makes it easier for hackers to gain access to your private account information. The best way to protect yourself is by monitoring your accounts and checking your credit scores annually. Consider adding identity theft coverage onto your current homeowner’s policy.

Identity Theft Protection policies can include the following protective services:

  1. Costs for notarizing fraud affirmations required by financial/lending institutions, credit agencies, or similar credit grantors.
  2. Costs for certified mail to financial/lending institutions, credit agencies, or similar credit grantors.
  3. Long-distance telephone call charges to financial/lending institutions, credit agencies, or similar credit grantors.
  4. Application fees when re-applying for loans.
  5. Reasonable attorney fees.
  6. Loss of income from taking time off to resolve the identity theft issues.

Although you will never be able to entirely eliminate the risk of have a security breach, investing in a cyber-liability policy (businesses), or investing in an identity theft protection plan (individuals), will ensure you have coverage when you need protection most.

For more information on preventative measures for a security breach, contact an account representative at McGrath Insurance Group at 508-347-6850.

*This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.

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