Target. Home Depot. Apple. Sony. Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.
Dramatic headlines about huge cyber attacks on major corporations and the resulting data breaches are almost becoming commonplace. These attacks have compromised the private information of millions of consumers, cost businesses hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with the fallout and raised the stakes in the cyber war. Just look at the statistics:
- According to last year’s “Global Risks 2014” by the World Economic Forum, cyber attacks are now one of the five biggest worldwide threats.
- Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty notes that cyber breaches are now among the top five concerns for corporate risk managers.
- According to a report by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), the number of U.S. data breaches hit an all-time high of 783 in 2014, a 27.5 percent increase over 2013.
Even the federal government is under attack.
In the most recent attack in April, hackers targeted the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which handles employee records and security clearances. The cyber thieves broke into government computers, possibly compromising private data on four million current and former federal employees. And it’s not the first time the federal government has been targeted; the State Department, the U.S. Postal Service and the White House have also been victims. But the latest attack is already stacking up as one of the largest breaches of information on government workers in history.
U.S. law enforcement speculates that a "foreign entity or government" is likely behind the latest attack. But while law enforcement speculates, business owners have more immediate concerns – like how good their own defenses are, and whether they’re next on the target list.
Opportunity is the enemy.
While big corporate and government data breaches continue to garner the biggest headlines, cyber thieves are increasingly targeting smaller organizations. It’s a simple matter of opportunity; since smaller businesses and organizations generally have fewer and less robust security measures, they can be an easy target.
What about your business? Are lapses in your security providing an open door for cyber thieves?
Keep in mind, there’s more to cyber liability than you might realize. Consider these possible vulnerabilities:
- Company and customer information. Your confidential company and customer information could be targeted, and your website could be vulnerable to hackers, viruses or data miners.
- Employees’ health information. 42.5 percent of all data breaches in 2014 occurred in the medical and health care industry, and the Premera Blue Cross cyber attack last year affected 11 million people in the U.S., with attackers potentially gaining access to names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, bank account numbers and other information.
- Mobile technology. Do your workers use laptops, tablets or smartphones on the jobsite? Your sensitive company data could be at risk.
- Internal threats. Careless incidents with emails, faxes or paper and electronic records can be a gold mine for hackers, and disgruntled workers are increasingly targeting current or former employers and compromising sensitive data.
How do you protect your business?
Now is the time to make cyber risk management a priority. Take a close look at your company’s risks and security measures, and develop a specific response plan that covers prevention, resolution and restitution. And don’t forget about the right insurance protection. Standard business policies have very limited, if any, coverage for cyber liabilities, so a separate cyber liability insurance policy is your best protection.
Your business is no longer immune from cyber threats, and by all estimates, the risks will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. Talk to the experts at Higginbotham Insurance to determine which cyber coverage options are a good fit for your company.