Cyber insurance: a new tool for protecting yourself against cyberattacks
Written by Duncan Taylor on June 20, 2017.
Cyberattacks are increasingly prevalent in the modern world and this is not a problem which is going away anytime soon. If you haven’t heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) yet, you soon will have. Over the next three years the number of connected devices across the globe is predicted to quadruple to somewhere between 10 and 20 billion. Soon everything, from fridges to kettles, washing machines to toasters, will have wifi capability.
While we will benefit from the convenience – your alarm clock will be able to tell your coffee machine when you wake up and ensure that a brew is waiting for you when you get to the kitchen – it does also mean that the number of points of entry into our computer systems increases and with it the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.
Ransomware hit the headlines a few weeks ago when the NHS were one of the high profile victims of a global cyberattack, now thought to have originated in North Korea. Hackers surreptitiously downloaded malicious software called Wanna Decryptor or Wannacry on to the computers of their victims using a tool named EternalBlue. A failure by users to update Windows software which would have patched the flaw left many computers vulnerable to attack. The virus then encrypted hard drives, blocking access to information and demanding a bitcoin ransom to unlock data.
The attack was a catastrophe for the NHS as patient records were blocked which denied doctors and surgeons access to crucial data relating to operations and appointments. Medical services were thrown into chaos and lives put at risk.
Being denied access to the data on your personal computer may not quite be life-threatening but it is undoubtedly annoying and could have serious consequences if sensitive information relating to your finances can be accessed by criminals. It is clear that we all need to take protection seriously.
There are many things that you can do to minimise the chances of an attack including:
- Keeping software current and automating updates
- Protecting all your devices, including tablets and smartphones, from viruses and malware with anti-virus software
- Back up all your data regularly on an external hard drive
- Using long, strong passwords, preferably different ones for each account
- Storing passwords safely and securely away from your computer
- Deleting suspicious looking emails without opening attachments
- Using W-fi hotspots with caution
- When shopping online, using only security-enabled sites with prefixes https:// or shttp://. Http:// is not secure
You can also protect yourself using cyber insurance – a new addition to the armoury of insurance products which give you peace of mind. Cyber insurance can’t prevent a cyberattack but it can help solve the problems caused by an attack in the following ways:
- Reimbursing losses incurred due to a Ransomware or other cyberattack
- Giving you access to expert advice on protecting your data
- Paying for the restoration of lost data
- Covering consulting costs incurred to secure your accounts
In a rapidly changing tech landscape cyber insurance is fulfilling a growing need in the marketplace. Is it time you thought about protecting yourself against an attack?