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Do I Need Cyber Liability Insurance – Cyber Extortion in the 21st Century

By September 8, 2015 No Comments
Cyber Extortion

Do I Need Cyber Liability Insurance – Cyber Extortion in the 21st Century

Written by: Twin City Group

You hear about, you know about, what will you do when it happens to you? Cyber extortion is happening every day and on a global basis. We hear about these digital crimes on the news and assume that cyber extortion is a problem reserved for large corporations. I mean, who is going to spend their time hacking and threatening John Q. Public? Recent high-profile attacks that have made the news are not that hard to comprehend:

o Target and Home Depot, two gigantic national chain stores, were victimized by hackers that managed to steal personal information of millions of customers
o Ebay was hit in 2014 and exposed personal information of over 230 million users
o P.F. Chang, a large national restaurant organization, was victimized by a point of sale hack that resulted in thousands of credit cards being put up for sale on the “dark web.”
o An attack on Anthem, a super large health insurer, resulted in the potential exposure of sensitive medical information of 80 million customers. That’s 80 million!

What about Extortion?

What the public did not hear about is whether or not there was an extortion threat associated with any of these gigantic attacks. It’s very possible that the hacker warned if a ransom was not paid; the information would be for sale to the highest bidder. Wouldn’t that make sense? Of course it would.

Who is Vulnerable?

Everybody is vulnerable to cyber extortion, not just the big guys. There are many thousands of small businesses and individuals who are subject to extortion threats every day. You know the drill. Your small law office computer all of a sudden stops working and a page opens demanding money in exchange for unlocking or un-encrypting your hard drive. What do you do? You’re an attorney, not an IT guy. Surprisingly, many folks pay up to defend their stored information and the hacker may or may not leave you alone. How do you catch the guy when he lives somewhere in the Middle East? You have just been held up for ransom.

My business is Too Small to Worry About

That is absolutely untrue. The Los Pollos Hermanos ransomware swept across Australia before most of the internet security firms could respond. The ransomware hit individuals, mom and pop small businesses, and large corporations without regard to size or money in the bank. Imagine successfully extorting $500 dollars from 25,000 individuals and small businesses, that’s a pretty significant pay day.

What can you Do about It?

There are two steps you can take to protect yourself and your business. It does cost some money, but it costs a lot more to deal with a hacker and the regulatory expenses following an attack, and theft of sensitive information from your hard drive. The good news is that the guys with the white hats are as sophisticated as the guys with the black ones.

1. Spend The Money Necessary to get the best malware and ransomware protection available. There are many companies out there so be sure and perform the necessary due diligence to make an informed decision. And by all means, perform the necessary updates whenever they become available. These hackers are shrewd and will change their programs frequently.

2. Purchase Cyber Liability Insurance from a reputable company. Your expenses will be a lot more than replacing your hard drive. A Cyber Liability Insurance policy will provide the funds needed to replace hard drives, but most importantly, the policy will provide the funds needed to pay a ransom demand and the costs associated with regulatory notices that must be sent to every person whose information was stolen from your computer.

Twin City Group, a 102-year-old insurance agency, has experts you’ll want to speak to about Cyber Liability Insurance. Take the time to call Jacob Sheehan at (952) 924-6968 to get the expert advice you need to navigate the Cyber Liability Insurance policy and make an informed decision.