[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Cyber attacks against the insurance industry have increased substantially in the last year and are expected to grow as more and more insurance companies engage in activity through online channels.
As insurance companies aggressively move into the new web territory through mobile apps, online applications, web-based insurance-management systems and agency portals, they face new vectors of cyber threat risk. Insurers store large amounts of personal information that identity criminal find irresistible.
According to the report titled ‘The Willis Fortune 1000 Cyber Disclosure Report, 2013’, insurers are one of the most concerned industry among Fortune 1,000 firms when it comes to cyber attacks. They fear hackers with intentions of stealing date of births, names, driver’s license numbers and social security numbers of insured individuals, individuals seeking quotes as well as policy holders.
Also, a report by Longitude Research surveyed executives to identify cyber security challenges and opportunities, and the results revealed that insurance companies may be the next target for criminals after banking institutions. Among the key findings of the report, the preparedness against cyber risks remains weak, with only one out of four organizations informing it has highly-prepared internal resources to combat the attack.
The nature of these attacks is the prime difficulty for insurers. Following an attack, can you work out the missed revenue due to negative press? What is the cost of damage to reputation? Being unable to predict when an attack could occur because of missing insurance cyber intelligence, as well as how costly it could be, has made the insurance industry hesitant to provide comprehensive coverage offers.
So, cyber attacks are rightly a real threat and the insurance industry needs to act to mitigate and prevent these concerns. Even it means defining the costs and laying the foundations, this is something insurance companies can’t miss out on.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) Against The Insurance Industry
The average loss in brand value for a company that experiences a data breach can be anywhere from $184 million to more than $330 million (£2 million GBP), according to PwC. And the collective loss of consumer trust in the industry can be even more costly.
Internal IT/Security staff find their roles becoming increasingly important and revered as APTs are on the rise. These days, cyber intelligence must be part of the business model, with “intelligence operatives” within the company liaising with external security vendors, national and even international authorities.
The cost of contemporary security solutions (external threat detection and internal systems) can go from £300,000 to £4,000,000 depending on the structure and size of the company network.
Needless to say, this is easy math to weigh against the potential losses.
Mitigating and preventing the threat
Companies need insurance cyber intelligence to locate system vulnerabilities along with an exposure report that guides them to resolve the threats effectively. Also, with cyber attacks evolving rapidly, the response strategies pursued by insurers also need to evolve.
Many solutions for cyber threat prevention and mitigation are reactive, carrying out forensic analysis after a breach occurs. Even though such programs may be able to provide some guidelines to prevent future threats, they may play little or no role in mitigating loss of customer information or reputation damage.
Further, the insurance industry should equip itself with government level internet monitoring and insurance cyber intelligence covering the full scope of threat-prevention services. The detection of threats can be augmented with intelligent solutions and focused around internal security policies as well as the national data protection laws.
As for combating reputation damage risk, insurers need to have powerful reputation management services in place that adopt a unique and aggressive approach towards all reputation damage cases, as well as use a multi-pronged strategy on every issue to deliver effective results.
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