For risk managers, keeping up with the latest threats is vital. This is especially true given the evolving landscape of cyberattacks, which can result in financial losses and brand damage.
Organizations should follow various practices to mitigate the risks of these attacks. This includes regularly updating software and systems to reduce vulnerabilities and implementing a system for responding quickly to any breaches.
Adapting to Change
Cyber threats constantly change, and organizations must continually adapt their security measures. This includes implementing cyber risk management practices such as subscribing to threat intelligence feeds, conducting regular threat assessments, and monitoring social media for potential threats. It also means regularly updating systems and software, as hackers can exploit old vulnerabilities.
Educating employees on cybersecurity is another important step in mitigating risk. While it can be challenging to get staff already stretched thin with core research and teaching duties to participate in training, they must do so. After all, it’s often the unintentional actions of employees—clicking on phishing links, not updating software, or leaving devices connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks—that are the root cause of many data breaches.
In addition, organizations need to consider how they will respond to a potential breach. This will include having a detailed response plan, including identifying the impact on their business and stakeholders, assessing financial losses, and establishing remediation steps. It will also involve determining their level of vulnerability by performing penetration testing and conducting vulnerability assessments. These plans will help organizations prioritize their efforts and stay ahead of the curve.
Trends in Cybercrime
Cybercrime is a constant and evolving threat, presenting new challenges for tech and cybersecurity pros entrusted with securing their companies’ data and infrastructure. These experts must stay ahead of the game, as successful hacks typically result in data breaches and the loss of valuable information belonging to a company or its customers.
Ransomware remains one of the most common cybercrimes, as it wreaks havoc by encrypting data until a company pays a ransom. These attacks have become more sophisticated, with criminals using advanced tools to create and execute such malicious code faster and more efficiently.
Other cybercrimes have also evolved, including the proliferation of IoT (Internet of Things) devices that connect to the Internet and share data. These include smart refrigerators, wearable fitness trackers, and voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Unfortunately, many of these devices are not securely configured and are susceptible to attack. With so many devices connected to the Internet, the potential damage to a company’s systems is significant.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted economic development and sustainable growth in some countries, making financial cybercrime more prevalent. This trend is particularly noticeable in developing nations that are still adjusting to the digital economy and are experiencing a rapid increase in cyberattacks against their banking industries.
Insurers’ Approach to Cyber Risk
So far, the insurance industry’s ad hoc efforts to address cyber risk have been insufficient. But, leveraging its unique expertise and analytical potential in collaboration with other mechanisms, the insurance industry can begin to reverse some underlying trends that contribute to the growing scope and severity of the threat.
A critical challenge is the widening impact of cyber incidents and the heightened exposures they create for businesses across multiple lines of business and industries. This makes developing a holistic risk management approach essential, not just for individual companies but also for their supply chains.
New technologies also introduce new vulnerabilities, increasing the attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit. For example, as more and more devices connect to the Internet, the ability of attackers to pinpoint specific assets increases.
Another issue is the potential for systemic and cascading effects of an incident that could threaten many policyholders simultaneously. For example, if a broad swath of manufacturing firms relied upon a single industrial Internet of Things platform for operations, the failure of that platform would create a significant aggregation risk for insurers.
The current public tolerance for data breaches and other cyber incidents is brittle, requiring corporations to be more proactive in preventing threats from compromising their systems and disclosing any incidents that occur. This will nudge them toward standalone cyber coverage, which can be tailored to the needs of each company’s specific systems and activities.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Cyber threats continually evolve, making it challenging for cybersecurity professionals to keep up. However, staying informed about the latest trends and implementing rigorous security measures can significantly mitigate an organization’s risk of being hit with a cyber attack.
A data breach can expose sensitive information, compromise business operations, and tarnish the reputation of the affected company. It’s crucial to have a response plan, such as a communications strategy informing the public about the incident and the steps taken to address it.
Another major concern is the proliferation of smart devices, which can be compromised to access a company’s network. These attacks are commonly called “ransomware” attacks and can include anything from smart TVs to baby monitors. A robust cyber threat landscape assessment strategy, including education and training initiatives, can help companies prevent such attacks.
Collaboration and information sharing are also vital in the fight against cyber threats. Companies should invest in training programs and participate in industry partnerships to exchange threat intelligence, identify new attack vectors, and develop effective defense strategies against AI-driven attacks. In addition, they should implement strong security controls that protect against common attack vectors, such as social engineering attacks and phishing emails. These techniques trick users into divulging confidential information or revealing passwords.