Held to Ransomware

Posted on: Thursday, 15 June 2017.

In our recent blog post (published on the 11th of April - ‘Have You Got Cyber Insurance’?), we discussed the nature of cybercrimes and how we can insure ourselves against possible attacks. In Part Three in our on-going series on cybercrime, we look at how ransomware is affecting Australian businesses and what we can do to minimise these risks.

With the recent spate of global ransomware attacks - including the now chilling ‘WannaCry’ attack that affected over 200,000 victims across 150 countries - we have reached a point where cybercrime is no longer just a potential threat, but an ongoing global pandemic.

“This is not game over.” - RMIT Associate Professor Mark Gregory

It was the morning of May the 15th, 2017, and Australian authorities were up early, nervously pacing about their offices, looking towards New Zealand with great consternation. In the previous 24 hours a new ransomware virus had spread ferociously throughout the world, wreaking havoc and disrupting hundreds and thousands of businesses, causing universal panic and catapulting major government departments like Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) back into the Dark Ages.

Was Australia to be next?

As New Zealand awoke and computers hummed to life, it was clear that we had barely escaped the largest cyberware attack in history… For now…

“This is absolutely a wakeup call. We have to understand that ransomware costs the Australian economy $1 billion a year conservatively." - Assistant Minister for Cyber-Security Dan Tehan.

What was so unique about the ‘WannaCry’ attack was that the ransomware was delivered via “a worm functionality”, enabling it to automatically spread from computer to computer. Hackers used algorithms that locked files and forced owners to pay a ransom or risk losing their entire data history. It was a fortunate discovery that halted the spread of this virus, but experts warn a more advanced attack is coming.

"You can take all the precautions in the world, but you still might get hit by one of these attacks.” - Mark Gregory

And therein lies the problem. No matter what we do as businesses or as individuals, if we are connected to the internet, or a server, or don’t closely pay attention to the origin of emails we are all susceptible to the whims and malice of faceless hackers. It’s an unfortunate reality that does not quell any sense of unease.

These attacks not only place our delicate (and personal) data at risk, they also restrict the capacity of the workplace, damage confidence within the business and the industry, and cause significant financial and time outlays.

But there are steps we can take to minimise these risks. There may not be a 100% wall against data hacks, but they are preventative measures we can all take to further reduce any likelihood of a serious data breach:

  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Make sure you keep a regular backup of your important files
  • Secure passwords
  • Laptop and mobile security
  • Install patches as they become available, and
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware software (and keep it updated)

With no guarantee of immunity from an attack, and with the threat of larger, more sophisticated ransomware ever-looming, if you have not already done so, we suggest that you assess your business’ data storage and security, and seriously consider protecting your business, with Cyber Insurance.

So few businesses are actually insured against cybercrime, with small businesses lagging the most in getting the right protection in place. As your insurance advisor, we believe it’s important to inform you of the potential cyber risks, and ensure that your insurance program is comprehensive and up-to-date.

If you’re not sure exactly what you’re covered for in the technology spectrum, we recommend you speak with your advisor at Country Wide Insurance Brokers to review your existing cover.

What is Cyber Insurance?

A cyber insurance policy can protect you against technology-related business interruption such as virus attacks, data loss and theft, website downtime and hacks, identity fraud, system suspension, cyber extortion, and more.

Cyber insurance is also designed to protect businesses against a wide range of liability cyber exposures from relying on the internet, email, websites, computer programs, data and from storing private information about their clients.

We can walk you through the finer details of different policies to find a solution to best suit your business.

If you'd like to learn more about Cyber insurance and how it can protect your business please contact us, call us on (08) 6279 2300 or email us at info@cwib.com.au

Note: This information is provided as general information only. The full policy terms and conditions should be reviewed to determine the correct policy response.

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