Even Insurance Companies Aren’t Safe From Hackers

A report in last week’s Australian newspaper stated that Australians are reporting 500 cybercrimes every week and recent stories about the hacking of large companies such as Sony, Target, Home Depot and Apple, make you wonder if your own company’s information is in jeopardy.

Getting hacked can be a scary thing to contemplate, especially if your (and your clients’) confidential information at stake.

Many people take every precaution to protect their personal information from hackers and identity thieves, but sometimes it does not prove to be enough. With the advances in technology come even more advanced hackers. As our society becomes increasingly dependent on digital storage rather than paper-based storage, the risk of people’s personal information being exposed has risen considerably.

You may have read about the recent attack on Aussie Travel Cover. These stories are appearing more and more.

In early October of 2012, there was a massive security breach at Nationwide Insurance in the US. Hackers stole the personal information of more than a 1 million people. The information accessed was extremely personal: names, addresses, marital status, and more. To the relief of many distressed Nationwide clients, it was not evident that any credit card or medical information was accessed or stolen. The attack was recognised by Nationwide the same day, and through effective managing of their business risks, steps were taken immediately to recover. A statement was released, and it was believed that the hackers were based outside of the US. As an apology to those affected, the company offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a full year.

It is extremely difficult to avoid hackers, even for the largest companies. Here are some things that small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) can do to keep them safer from cyber-attacks:

Install a firewall – Consult a computer technology firm or industry specialist on how to install a firewall on your system. A firewall helps to prevent valuable information from leaking out of your computer and also helps to prevent hackers from getting in.

Get insured – There are a variety of solid companies that offer insurance for cyber breaches (cyber insurance), and they will often help you to recover valuable information and assist in payment of any damages incurred from the hack.

This cover can include:

  • The cost of a public relations firm to help tell the world, in a better tone, how the breach may have occurred
  • money to provide your clients with credit monitoring and other services to help them get back on track.
  • Funds to help if you are sued. A cyber insurance policy will cover your legal costs and penalties in the event you lose (subject to policy limits).

Use secure passwords – Make sure that every computer in your network is secured with a strong password. Include numbers and symbols to make your passwords stronger. Many companies still use “admin” or “password”, and this is leading to more and more attacks.

Talk to employees – Make sure that every employee knows how to keep their computer and information secure. Communication with your employees will ensure that they know the procedures for keeping the business safe from hackers.

With the chance getting hacked increasing almost daily, many business owners are wondering what can be done to minimize the chances of a security breach. For SMEs, which make up over 95% of Australian businesses and can be considerably more vulnerable than larger enterprises, the best solution is insurance.