Cyber risks – the growing threat for the 21st century

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October 3, 2022

Automation is heralded as a saver of time and money.  It takes the drudgery out of mundane tasks.  It standardises and provides opportunity to the way in which we live, work and play.  Quite simply it defines 21st century living, with most people unaware of the processes that are carrying on in the background.

But just as humans have flaws and failings, so too does technology.  Worse still, there are people and organisations out there looking to exploit those weaknesses for personal, financial or strategic gain.

Many people have already become victims of hacks or scams such as phishing or ransomware.  Businesses and organisations are not immune – so-called bot-networks regularly target servers in denial-of-service attacks.  Passwords and authenticators are targeted.  Rogue states and operators deliberately try to sabotage IT systems.

Each of these risks poses a headache for the insurance community.  The cost of paying Cyber claims is huge and growing.

What’s worse is that it’s really difficult to estimate the true scale of the risks posed, as many attacks go unreported.  But already this year, a report suggested that local government authorities in the UK had been subjected to an average of 10,000 cyber-attacks per day during the first 8 months of 2022.  That colossal number is likely to be much higher in reality, because it’s based only on recognised attacks.

And unrecognised attacks are a major weapon.  They can seriously disrupt the ability of a business or organisation to conduct normal trade; they can intercept confidential data by logging keystrokes; they can take websites and platforms offline.

And the threat is not confined to the traditional image of teenage recluses working out of their bedrooms: look at how exposures of covert operations by whistle blowers such as Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden have embarrassed the United States!

October is Cyber Awareness Month.  It’s a time for individuals and businesses to reassess their IT security and address their shortcomings.  Are you using the latest version of your operating system?  Some companies are still using dated versions of windows, such as Vista.  This is no longer supported by Microsoft and manna-from-heaven for a hacker!  Last month Apple made the rare and urgent announcement to update its iOS system because of a potential security flaw.

The importance of Cyber awareness is also a major theme at the FERMA Forum being held in Copenhagen.  The insurance industry will play a significant role in finding the solution to Cyber security.  Together, both legislators and the insurance industry should strive increasingly to set minimum standards for cyber resilience in companies in order to ensure sustainable improvements.

Keeping your customers and clients informed is the best way to keep them online and to mitigate against potential risks. The best way to spread messaging about the solutions for the cyber world, is to use the cyber world – whether through social media, videos or podcasts.  And that’s where brandformula can help – getting the message out there, in a digestible form, whether to individuals, businesses or governments.  For more advice or information, contact us here.