Insurance companies are one of the most vulnerable businesses to cybercrime around. As a sector, they operate under a unique set of circumstances that make them ideal targets, and this risk has only grown with the increase in remote workforces brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But even before COVID-19 struck, insurance companies were seeing massively increasing threats from cybercriminals driven by a wide variety of factors. Chief amongst these is the increasing importance of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is an enormous benefit for insurers and offers some incredible opportunities, but as often is the case with new innovations, it brings with it risks as well. As vulnerabilities and potential weak spots increase, the severity and regularity of breaches and attacks will only continue to grow.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! There are plenty of things insurers can do to boost their cybersecurity efforts.
Insurance companies are responsible for keeping vast amounts of confidential client information safe and, as a result, need to commit to the highest possible level of cybersecurity.
We’re going to take a look at some of the most common threats the insurance industry faces. From bad actors online to the three most important things insurers can do to fortify themselves against hacks and attacks.
Cybersecurity Risk for Insurers
Ransomware or digital extortion is one of the fastest-growing forms of cyberattack and one that insurance companies often face. Ransomware attacks can disable a business or hold data or customer information hostage, extorting payment in return for the encryption key.
Whether it's cracking credentials at unfeasible speeds, finding loopholes and vulnerabilities in your network, credential stuffing, or swamping your system with malicious bots, AI means that cybercriminals can do more faster than ever before.
Identity Theft and Data Loss
One of the biggest risks for insurance companies is the loss of their data. Customers rely on insurers to keep their information safe, and a breach can mean disaster, resulting in everything from identity theft, fraud, extortion, or financial crime.
Disrupted Networks and Reputational Risk
Even if cyberattacks are not successful in actually stealing anything, they can cause havoc across a business's networks and systems, causing shutdowns, lack of service, and a serious blow to a company’s reputation and ability to function. Given that the basis of all insurance companies is trust, this can be particularly damaging in this industry.
Three Things to Do to Boost Cybersecurity
Know Your Defenses
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your cybersecurity systems is a vital first step in staying safe, and one of the best ways to test and discover your vulnerabilities is by stress-testing your defenses. Finding out where you are vulnerable and whether you can withstand an attack lets you fix what needs fixing and take whatever action is necessary.
Prevent, Don’t Cure
Stopping attacks before they happen is the best way to deal with cybercrime. Investing in systems that can detect attacks as they happen, as well as predict potential threats, means that you can snuff out danger before it becomes a problem. These days, AI cybersecurity allows you to do far more than ever before when it comes to identifying potential weaknesses and nascent threats. Invest in technology because the enemy certainly is!
Training and Awareness-Raising
Although most businesses tend to concentrate on packing the defenses against external threats and investing in the latest tech, human error is one of the biggest contributors to digital vulnerability. As a result, it is vital that you ensure that your staff has the tools and the knowledge to keep your organization safe and act as a human firewall and threat prevention system all in one. Train your people, raise awareness about potential threats and risky behavior, and you’ll cut off one of the most lucrative attack vectors cybercriminals have.
Modern-day cybercriminals are more nuanced and determined than ever before, leveraging cutting-edge technology in their attacks. You need to take advantage of every opportunity you have to stay one step ahead and keep your business safe.
To find out more about how you can protect your organization, get in touch with VC3. We can help you stay one step ahead of the game, now and in the future.