Archive for April, 2018

Dangers of Data Sharing In Healthcare

The (UK) government has been accused of failing to act on “serious concerns” raised by doctors and MPs about an NHS policy that sees patient details shared with immigration authorities.

The Health and Social Care Committee warned earlier this year that NHS Digital was failing to uphold the interests of patients with the existing memorandum of understanding (MoU), through which patient data held by NHS Digital is shared with the Home Office for immigration tracing purposes.

It followed an evidence session on the subject in January, which heard that illegal immigrants were “too frightened” to access healthcare because of the data-sharing agreement, with many being “driven underground” by the legislation.

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How your Browser can Betray you …..

Web browsers store an incredible amount of sensitive information about you. Website developers have a variety of ways of using modern browsers to customize the experience for users. Advertisers also use these features to maximize the impact of ads shown on sites.

The result is that a lot of information about you is stored deep in your browser, and it can potentially be exploited by cyber criminals in a number of ways. This blog will describe what we call the “web dossier” that can be created from these artifacts, how this profile can be exploited, and what you can do to protect yourself.

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How Artificial Intelligence is changing Corporate Canada

Corporate Canada is starting to wake up to AI. Name any sector and you’ll find at least one established player that has experimented with it – not the stuff of Terminator or 2001: A Space Odyssey, machines with human-level consciousness and perception, but software in narrower areas of machine learning.

Artificial-intelligence technology has advanced enough that algorithms can perform as well or better than humans at recognizing speech and images – and outperform us at solving certain problems or predicting outcomes. “I think [corporate executives] are starting to see a disadvantage to their business if they don’t have an active, applied machine-learning or AI project that is delivering results,” said Integrate.ai CEO Steve Irvine.

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Sony goes into Smart Homes

Sony today announced a collection of new products that it plans to showcase during the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany this upcoming weekend. One of the biggest additions to the company’s line-up is a new smart home speaker, called the LF-S50G wireless speaker, which looks similar to Apple’s upcoming HomePod, has a built-in Google Assistant, and is being pitched with a “high quality” music-focused message.

Users can start off music playback by saying “OK Google,” and from there they can ask the assistant for any information that it normally provides, including basic trivia, unit conversions, nutritional information, recipes, and more. The sides of the speaker have an LED clock display, while the top includes various sensors that support gesture controls for starting a song, skipping a song, and adjusting volume.

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How Google is taking over Your Home

Google’s push to place its digital assistant, the search giant’s new product centrepiece, inside every consumer appliance imaginable is edging forward.

The Alphabet Inc. unit announced on Wednesday that its voice-based chat service is now compatible with a wave of home devices, including speakers and everyday household appliances like refrigerators. A

fter arriving on Google’s smartphone and speaker in 2016, the company hopes its chat-bot can field regular search queries and become a vehicle for online commerce.

On that front, Google faces stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc., which is also trying to spread its digital assistant Alexa. For example, on Wednesday Amazon and Microsoft Corp. announced a deal to make their digital assistants talk to each other.

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Who are the top Cyber Insurance Companies?

Cyber Insurance needs to provide not only financial indemnity, but also some type of Incident Management Team.This normally includes IT Specialists, Lawyers, Ransom Negotiators etc.

Finding the right Cyber Insurance Company can be tricky, and expensive if you get it wrong.

Cyber Insurance is a relatively new form of insurance, and until quite recently was thought of as being quite specialised.

What this means in practice is that there are fewer insurance companies or providers who offer it, compared with other types of business insurance, and those who do offer it tend to vary quite considerably in terms of coverage and cost.

This is likely to change in the next few years as the need for some type of cyber insurance becomes more mainstream.

The risk of cyber crime has grown massively in the last couple of years, and the changes in technology in relation to smart homes, autos, travel etc means cyber security will need to become a feature of everyone’s life, at home, work and play.

Cyber insurance will have to follow this, either as a stand alone policy, as at the moment, or incorporated into other insurance policies.

Cyber Insurance Companies

It is worth just distinguishing between insurance companies, brokers and agents.

An insurance company, sometimes called a carrier or provider, does the actual insuring of the cyber security risk. It assess the level of risk, decides what level of cover it is willing to provide, and decides how much it wants to charge the business by way of an insurance premium.

This process is known as insurance underwriting. Insurance companies can be based in any country, but often operate on a worldwide basis, or in certain geographical areas.

Lloyd’s of London is fairly unique in the sense that it is not simply one insurance company, but operates effectively as an umbrella organisation for a number of different insurance companies, who trade under the Lloyd’s name, and will normally insure things on a worldwide basis, either under their own name, or the Lloyd’s name.

An insurance broker is an independent agent, who acts on behalf of their client, and approaches several different insurance companies to determine best conditions and price for their clients needs.

This means they need to really understand their clients company and business, as well as the cyber insurance market. They receive a commission from the insurance comapany by way of payment, but legally are always the agent of the insured, not the insurance company.

An insurance agent can be a slightly confusing term. It normally refers to an individual or organisation who acts as an agent of a specific insurance company, sells their products only and receives a commission as a result.

They will always be an agent of the company, not the insured. An insurance agent may also be involved with or representing another institution such as a bank or financial institution.

If they are offering advice on cyber insurance, or any type of insurance, they should always declare if they are an agent of a particular company, or independent. Most do, but not all. It is always worth checking.

Cyber insurance hasn’t made it to cost comparison sites yet, and with the variations in cover and cost, it is well worth considering going to an insurance broker with knowledge and experience of the market.

Cyber Insurance Hiscox

Hiscox have quickly established themselves as one of the leading cyber insurance providers.

For a long time, they have been regarded as one of the foremost insurance underwriters for small businesses, specialising in professional liability insurance, errors and omissions policies, business owners insurance and workers comp.

The move into cyber liability insurance was a fairly natural and obvious one.

Hiscox Cyber Insurance policies  will not only offer financial indemnity like any traditional insurance policy, they also deal with the management of the incident or data breach, through what is known as an incident management team.

This will normally consist of a number of negotiators who can deal with any type of cyber crime such as ransom ware, as well as companies who deal with reputational damage, and IT specialists who can restore the integrity of any hacked system.

A cyber insurance policy should also have some provision for loss of income or business interruption in the event that the cyber attack or data breach renders the normal day-to-day workings of the business untenable for any period of time.

Hiscox have also focused on producing a number of risk prevention models, training models and practical tools for risk management for a wide range of companies and organisations.

Cyber Insurance AIG

AIG are another leading insurer who have built up  a specialism in Cyber Insurance, with three specific policies they underwrite, known as

CyberEdge,

CyberEdge Plus and

CyberEdge PC.

These insuarnce policies cover the financial cost associated with data breach, as well as cyber extortion, restoring an IT system or network, business interruption etc.

AIG also invest heavily in cyber security advice and cyber crime prevention through training and risk managemnt services, both online and face to face.

Cyber Insurance Chubb

Chubb are one of the largest insurance companies in the world, and trade for a strongly in North America.

On their website, they claim to be the world’s largest publicly traded PMC insurance company, and the largest commercial insurer in the US.

Whilst this gives them an undoubted presence and strength in North America, it also means they have the resources to be a major force in cyber insurance worldwide.

Chubb have four major cyber insurance policies

Cyber Enterprise Risk Management

Digitech Enterprise Risk Management

Forefront 3.0 – Cyber Security

Integrity+

These policies have a wide range of different components, which range from standard cyber protection, to extensive loss mitigation and incident response services, privacy notification and crisis management expenses.

A good cyber insurance policy will include basic financial indemnity, but also a wide range of support services to both manage the immediate crisis, and to deal with the resulting fallout.

This applies both in terms of notification to individuals about a potential data breach and its consequences, through to advising and informing any relevant regulatory bodies of the same relevant breach.

Cyber Insurance Companies and Lloyd’s

Lloyd’s is the oldest and most established insurance market in the world, and justifiably has a reputation for both tradition and innovation in insurance related products.

As a market covering a number of different companies, as of 2018 it has approximately 77 cyber risk insurers under one roof, as it were, who can both initiate and cover all types of cyber risk insurance.

Many of the specialist underwriters at Lloyd’s view cyber liability insurance in the same way as they do another specialist type of insurance, kidnap and ransom insurance.

They view cyber liability as being not simply about financial indemnity, but about managing the incident itself in the quickest and most effective way possible. Most Lloyd’s policies will  have provision for and cover the following areas

Breach Response

Liability

Regulatory

Extortion

Business Interruption

Reputational Harm

PCI DSS Assessment and Fines

Perhaps the main advantage that Lloyd’s has over most other traditional insurance companies is twofold.

It has a reputation, normally justified, for producing types of insurance policies that are both relatively fair, cost wise, and are highly innovative in terms of the level of cover they provide.

They also have a reputation for swift and effective claims management handling.

With cyber liability insurance the speed and effectiveness of dealing with the management of the data breach is often as or even more important as dealing with any long-term financial or reputational damage.

Cyber Insurance Allianz

As well as providing insurance cover, Allianz  have a number of what they refer to as risk engineers, who specialise in IT security, and who have their own specialism in evaluating a company’s level of IT security and maturity generally.

They seem to take the approach that they would like to work with companies of all sizes in developing and safeguarding their IT infrastructure, and developing ways of pioneering safe practice.

They refer to this practice as IT maturity. Against this background they then develop any type of cyber insurance that may be needed.

Allianz have two types of relevant insurance policies

Allianz Cyber Protect

Allianz Reputation Protect

The Cyber Protect policy is the one mentioned above, whereas the reputation protect policy covers the potential risk of reputational damage caused by a number of incidents, some of which could be related to a data breach, and others related to other types of risks depending on the nature of the business.

These can include health and safety incidents or accidents, various types of product liability related claims, business interruption and legal and regulatory investigations.

It seems likely that Allianz separate out these two types of policies because they believe that the reputational damage cover needed that can occur from a number of incidents can be as valuable as simply having that level of cover within a cyber liability insurance policy.

For some people this may be more relevant than others.

Cyber Insurance Aviva

Although Aviva  is a fairly well-established name in the insurance market, it is a relatively new player in the cyber insurance market.

This isn’t necessarily a positive or negative thing, and it’s cyber insurance cover has three main elements, cover for a data breach response, computer cover, and third-party liability.

It is unclear at the moment what level of risk management incident management help it provides when compared with other major players, such as Hiscox and Chubb,  but this may suit some people who simply want a more standard type of insurance policy.

Cyber Insurance QBE

QBE  is often thought  of as an insurance company that is strongest in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It does in fact have a very strong worldwide presence, and in relation to cyber insurance it does lay very heavy emphasis on what it terms providing crisis support.

Their panel of experts include companies such as Experian and Norton Rose, and they seem genuinely thorough in terms of their approach to helping to manage risk.

They also have a number of very well thought through and concise articles on their website that deal with current data protection legislation and implications for individuals and small businesses.

Whilst it may not always be strictly relevant, the more an insurance company relly understands the nature of cyber security, and puts in place protective tools and training for companies of all sizes to help them prevent cybercrime, it is not only good PR for the insurance company, but also helps mitigate and reduce risk, and should result in lower premiums and better levels of crisis management as well.

One other advantage of being a global company, is that QBE can provide policies in different languages, and for companies of all sizes who operate in different geographical areas, they say they are able to provide global cyber programs,  which may be valuable for companies who operate in different countries.

Cyber Insurance Marsh

Marsh is essentially the trading name of Marsh and  McLennan, one of the world’s oldest and largest insurance brokers. Whilst the size of a company like this may sometimes seem slightly more of a disadvantage than an advantage, in relation to cyber insurance it is probably an advantage.

Sometimes really big companies become quite institutional, and lose their sense of being able to innovate and deal effectively with new and cutting-edge needs and technologies.

With regard to cyber insurance, the history that Marsh has in terms of providing insurance for a wide range of different businesses and industries probably gives it the edge over most other brokers in terms of understanding the needs of businesses generally.

It is this understanding of how an industry or business works that allows it to model the risk to the business in terms of cyber liability, and make recommendations accordingly.

Any insurance broker is only as good as its knowledge and understanding of the industry that it is arranging insurance for, as well as its knowledge of the insurance market it is working in.

Cyber Insurance Symantec

Symantec is a name more commonly associated with cyber security, being one of the most well established players in anti-virus and malware software.

In the last couple of years it has taken the initiative to team up with a number of insurers to help provide them with the knowledge and experience of what developing cyber risks are, and what needs to be done both to mitigate risk and develop insurance solutions relevant to meeting those risks.

There is no doubt in the value of a company like Symantic using its vast experience to help insurers really understand the nature of cybercrime and how it is developing in ways that insurers would not be able to do themselves.

In some ways this may be more helpful to insurance brokers rather than insurance underwriters, as a large part of the work that a good insurance broker will do will be to help model risk, and advise companies at what level of risk they can self insure, and where they need some type of cyber liability insurance policy to cover risks they cannot manage.

Cyber Insurance Aon

Aon describes itself as a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk retirement and health solutions.

Goes on to talk about 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empowering results for clients etc. For people who like jargon this is fine, but is alos unfortunate because it could put people off looking at them as a prospective broker.

In fact they have a significant place in providing cyber insurance advice and experience, and have a wide range of products and services which could be extremely useful to a wide range of businesses. It may not help their credibility by advertising in their products section that they provide bedbug insurance (which may well be useful for some people) alongside cyber insurance.

In February 2018 Aon teamed up with Cisco, Apple and Allianz to provide what they term a new cyber risk management solution, bringing together the various strengths of the four companies involved.

Partnerships like this could well be a significant move forward in terms of providing solutions that integrate technology, insurance and risk management.

In addition, Aon have their own cyber diagnostic tool online that allows companies to fill out a questionnaire online which will allow Aon to provide a detailed report back to the company analysing their potential to cyber risk and cybercrime liability.

Cyber Insurance PWC

PWC, long thought of as one of the world’s leading accountancy firms, also have a strong reputation as a leading firm of business consultants. With regard to many areas of business, this often puts them in a unique position to help advise a wide range of organisations, and this is certainly true of cyber insurance.

Their consultancy experience allows them focus on managing cyber risk, with a special emphasis both on the business and technical side. They have a defined approach to what they refer to as cyber resiliency, which allows them to advise on risk management, best use of technology and operations and incident response.

Their work is often thought of as purely preventative, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but should also be thought of as part of helping a business or organisation of any size or type build and develop a culture where there is an understanding of and respect for the need for cyber governance at all levels of the operation.

Cyber Insurance Nationwide

Nationwide describes itself as a mutual insurance company, although there is a disclaimer on its website that not all companies  associated with it are mutual, so it is difficult to be clear whether or not it is a mutual company in the traditional sense of how they are understood to operate.

This can be important to some people, as mutual insurance companies are thought of much in the same way as credit unions, and many people respect this type of mutual benefit.

Notwithstanding that, Nationwide together with Hartford Steam Boiler, offer three fairly standard cyber insurance policies, that cover data compromise protection, identity recovery protection and Cyber one protection, which focuses on protecting against damage caused by malware or viruses. There is also some general advice about securing your business against risks from data breaches, denial of service etc.

Although Nationwide are a well-respected company, it is not clear from their website exactly how much experience they really have in this type of insurance, and whether or not they should be considered a serious player at the moment.

Cyber Insurance Munich Re

Munich Re are one of the oldest insurance companies around, and have a strong and valued reputation for all types of insurance.

With regard to cyber insurance, they offer an insurance policy called cyber one protection, designed by Hartford Steam Boiler. It is not clear whether or not this is the same insurance policy issued by Nationwide as above.

The cover offered seems fairly solid, by way of coping with data recovery for both electronic and non-electronic information, restoring the integrity of the system that has been breached, helping with any loss of business or business interruption as the result of the cybercrime, and helping with reputation damage limitation.

There is also some coverage for third-party liability and potential damages resulting from that.

Cyber Insurance Willis

According to claims data released by Willis Towers Watson, approximately 2/3 of all side of breaches caused by employee negligence or wilful action. This is quite a powerful statistic, and unsurprisingly goes to the heart of the approach by Willis to dealing with the whole issue of cyber risk.

Willis, traditionally known by the name of Willis Faber, are one of the world’s oldest and leading insurance brokers.

Their approach to cyber insurance has a threefold basis, that of assessment, protection and recovery, with a heavy emphasis on developing in-house  strategies that involve both technology and people, as well as developing a strong ethos of cyber governance throughout the organisation.

Their approach to dealing with cyber insurance seems to embrace best practice as ready outlined above.

In addition, they do lay heavy emphasis on providing what they refer to as deep forensic analysis of any data breach or cyber crime, to make sure it is understood how and why it happened and quickly putting in place any preventative measures necessary to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Cyber Insurance Zurich

Zurich it is often thought of as a fairly traditional type of insurance company, and what it offers by way of cyber insurance is a fairly standard type of policy compared with most of the other ones around at the moment.

It does have a number of risk engineering tools and services which can be helpful, and also the fact that it is a global  underwriting company with a number of offices and agencies around the world can add an element of attraction for some people.

Cyber Insurance Travelers

Travelers is a well respected and well established insurance company, and seems to be making a fairly intense effort to establish itself as a serious player in the cyber insurance market.

It has a number of tools and resources to help individuals and companies manage cyber risk for any breach, and to deal with the fallout of any situation post-breach.

It has teamed up with Symantec  to help companies assess levels of risk, and put in place procedures and policies and training which can help manage the risk and reduce it as far as possible.

It also has a number of specific policies for different types of organisations and businesses. It has a policy called Cyber Risk for a range of different industries and businesses, and a policy called Cyber First for technology companies and public organisations.

It also has a policy Cyber First Essentials for small businesses and SMEs.

Travelers has a range of cyber security coaching and support services available to help organisations and businesses plan and deal with any breach. They have what they refer to as a Breach Coach, a Symantec Cyber Security Coach and an HIPAA Coach.

Travelers also has an e-risk hub which brings together a range of its policies, wordings and benefits. There is also a cyber academy, which has a range of videos and training tools which give people easy to understand information about the ongoing types of cybercrime and cyber risk, and how best to reduce and manage them.

Tata AIG

There is a fair amount of talk that tech companies in India do not take cyber security and insurance seriously as they should, given the size and growth of India as a major player in both providing and servicing so much of the world’s technology industry.

Whether that is true or not, Tata AIG  have structured what looks to be one of the most comprehensive cyber insurance policies around, and has very clear and detailed information about data liability covers, in terms of loss of personal information, loss of corporate information and outsourcing, as well as network security.

It also provides extensive cover for reputation and response costs in relation to forensics services needed to restore integrity of the system and the company, repairing and restoring the company’s reputation, notification of a data breach to individuals that information has been stolen and reporting to regulatory bodies where appropriate and necessary.

Their policy also provides some help with credit monitoring and provides optional extensions for multimedia liability, cyber privacy extortion and network interruption.

Tata AIG also have a range of directors and officers liability, professional indemnity, errors and omissions insurance policies, and as part of that also have a crime and fidelity insurance policy. This policy addresses the unpleasant issue of senior and trusted staff stealing from, or in some way allowing criminal activities to happen within a company.

No one likes to think that this is  likely, but as the claims report from Willis shows, approximately 2/3 of all cyber security crime arise from staff negligence and malfeasance. Intentionally or not, the need to have some level of security regarding activity inactivity by senior staff and often those below them is fairly evident, however unpleasant that maybe.

Cyber Insurance JLT

JLT ( Jardine Lloyd Thompson )  are perhaps not as well main at some of the major insurance brokers, and would perhaps be regarded as a specialist London Market insurance broker.

Whilst they are certainly specialists in the London market, they also operate worldwide, and have an outstanding reputation in all areas of insurance they provide advice on, with cyber insurance being one of their specialities.

They provide extensive levels of advice and guidance to companies on how best to manage cyber risk, especially to companies who are new to the idea that their business may need help.

They have a unique data organiser tool which helps businesses assess risk and provide details of the company’s cyber risk exposure.

They also advise companies where cyber insurance excludes certain types of risks such as patient, software and copyright infringement, failure to take required security measures and certain employment-related claims.

Cyber Insurance Hartford

Hartford  is a well established and a well-respected insurance company, and certainly provides cover for cyber insurance.

It seems to have a slightly more distant approach than some other insurance companies, in that it has cyber liability insurance and data breach insurance, coverage of which can be added to existing business owners insurance policies and general liability insurance policies already underwritten by the Hartford.

It also has its own cyber choice first response which is designed to develop a cyber incident response plan, advise on cyber security and provide a coordinated defence to any cyber attack, and help deal with the consequences of any incident that might happen.

Cyber Insurance Arthur J Gallagher

Arthur J Gallaher have a well-deserved reputation as a broking firm of high integrity, which whilst you would hope most insurance brokers do have, can make a real difference when dealing with a significant amount of cyber liability risk, which often involves dealing with areas of certain businesses where trust is significantly lacking.

As a company, they have significant experience in cyber insurance, and are well able to structure individual programmes and policies to the nature of a particular business organisation.

They also have a significant knowledge center available to clients, which can provide background information and detailed reports about the current nature of cybercrime, what are the most likely cyber risks, and the best way to provide varying levels of protection within a company or business

 

 

Big Data Key to Fighting Disease

A major part of this effort is now also being focused on improving the data about the impact that AMR is having on global health in a bid to convince policymakers that more needs to be done, and faster, to meet the challenge.

Key to this approach will be use of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project – a hugely influential epidemiological study that has mapped the worldwide impact of diseases and other health risks since the 1990s – to publish comprehensive data on how many people are being affected and being killed by drug-resistant infections.

Alan Lopez, a co-founder of the original study and now laureate professor at the University of Melbourne, said much like GBD data on lung cancer had helped to press home the case for governments to tackle smoking, incorporating AMR into the project could be vitally important.

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Big Data Helping People Back into Work

Worxica is a labour market information research tool built for use by Canadian job seekers, students, and employers.

After entering a job title and location, they can see a summary showing the number of applicable local job ads advertised over the past year, who has been hiring, the typical annual wages offered, skills and certifications required, and more. Users can then click on any reported metric to dive into the job postings it was retrieved from.

Worxica was built to help Canadians make informed decisions when planning and executing their next career move. “Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technology advances are already revolutionizing the way employers hire workers and monitor productivity.

Isn’t it time for job seekers to reap some benefits too?” asks Strac Ivanov, president and CEO of Vicinity Jobs. “For over a decade, we have been collecting information from online job postings for Canadian government economists, universities, and labour market researchers. Through Worxica, we are putting much of this information in the hands of Canadians looking for work.”

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Cyber Security Basics

Many people think that cyber security only applies to big companies and governments, and that it should like to be dealt with by the IT guys.

Anyone who owns a computer, who works with a computer or who has a smart phone needs to be aware of some pretty basic rules about cyber security, both for their own sake and for anyone they work with or for.

Cyber security is about understanding the risk of cyber crime, and doing whatever you can to minimise the risk, and then when necessary insure against what ever potential risk is left.

Cyber Crime

The nature of cyber crime is a rapidly evolving one, and can cover a wide area. At one level it is about criminals trying to obtain money or other benefits either by installing some type of ransom ware on a computer or a system, and demanding payment for releasing encrypted files, or by some other type of blackmail.

On the other hand cybercrime can be about online bullying, where there may be no financial element involved, but where the emotional and personal distress can often be enormous.

Cyber crime can also  be connected to malicious software, known as malware, and viruses, which do not have any specific financial target, but which are designed to disrupt and in some cases destroy data or computer systems on a particular network.

Prevention

The old adage that prevention is better than cure  is an absolute truism when talking about cyber security. Perhaps the number one priority for all types of cyber security is to make sure that all your data is always backed up, ideally more than once, to different locations.

Backups can either be by way of  cloud computing, memory sticks or to another network, but they are crucial to restore the integrity of the system in the event of any cyber attack. Nowadays it is dead easy to automate backups and so there is no excuse really not to do it.

The same goes for making sure that your computer operating system is up-to-date, and any applications or software that you use is running the latest version.

Also that any browser you use is up to date as well. If you are running it as part of a network, then it is also important that all firewalls and anti-virus and anti-malware software is in place and up-to-date.

Cyber Security basics are in many ways common sense.

A lot of the incidents that relate to cyber security happen because very basic rules are just not always followed. Simple things like not opening email attachments unless you know who they are from is a classic example.

Much of the damage done to computer systems and networks is done from some things like opening attachments that shouldn’t be opened, letting viruses and malware into the system, not changing passwords regularly enough and an increasing problem, is people using their own mobile devices at work on a company network.

Mobile Cyber Security

Smart phones seemed to have escaped the focus of cyber security, which has largely been on desktop computers and networks.

However the risk to smart phones is certainly ever present, and is likely to increase it to me as smart phones become much more of a digital hub for people’s lives, both in their own home, in their car and at work as well.

The same principles apply to mobile cyber security as to the desktop and network security.

Make sure the operating system is up-to-date, make sure the browser is up-to-date, and do not open email attachments unless you are certainly know who they are from.

Also with smart phones it is really important to be sure that the Wi-Fi network your are using is secure, especially if you are using the phone for things like online banking.

Some public Wi-Fi networks  are notoriously unsafe, and should be used with great caution.

Smart Home – Internet of Things

The relentless drive of the Internet of things has received a major boost in recent years with Amazon, Google and Apple all producing their own smart home hubs.

These are designed to control all the wirelessly connected devices in the home, of which there are an increasing number. The idea of a smart home has been around for some time, and is gradually becoming a reality whether people like it or not.

An increasing number of devices and products, from washing machines to refrigerators to televisions have wireless internet capability, and can talk to other devices electronically as well as connect to the Internet.

There are huge cyber security risks involved in this, as many devices either do not have proper security safeguards built in, or are out of date by the time they arrive in the home.

The issue of cyber security in the home, especially in the Smart home, is rapidly becoming an issue.

The most important things to do to check that any devices that to have wireless capability had the latest software and security updates from the manufacturer installed, that your home Wi-Fi network is secure, and check online with any product you buy to see if there are any problems regarding security that other people may be reporting.

Cyber Security Governance

The idea of some type of governnance is largely a corporate one, but the principle applies to anyone who runs any type of business or organisation of any size, and can also be adapted very easily to anyone’s home or domestic environment.

The principle of cyber security governance is that a business or organisation of any size has a dedicated risk management plan and system for making sure that cyber security is as strong as it can possibly be within the organisation.

This in part is about policies and procedures, but is also about systems and people as well.

Firstly it is important to have one person at board level or equivalent  whose sole responsibility or whose major responsibility is cyber security. They must be accountable to the organisation, and have the authority to make decisions and spend money when necessary.

The structure should be similar to that of many companies who have a risk management system in place.

The individual concerned needs to develop policies and procedures for making sure that the integrity of the network system is always as secure as it can be, whether it is done in-house or by way of outside contractors, and that people who work within the business or organisation are also fully aware of cyber security risks, and what can be done to minimise these risks.

This can involve training, as well as online monitoring of activity that may be deemed inappropriate in a workplace, and making sure some type of cyber insurance policy is in place that ideally includes an incident management team which can oversee the practical resolution of any data breach or cybercrime, and the restoration of the integrity of any compromised computer or IT system.

 

 

 

Identity Theft – What Is It?

Someone who is a victim of identity theft is someone who has had their identity stolen in some way, and the criminal has used that identity to fraudulently obtain some type of benefit, such as a bank loan, credit card or other financial gain in the name of the person whose identity they have stolen.

Identity theft is widespread, although the scale of it is difficult to assess financially as a lot of banks and financial institutions do not like to advertise the fact that they had been misled and had money stolen from them.

The risks of identity theft are well  known, and there is a lots of good advice available about how to try and prevent identity theft, and there is some insurance protection available in the event that someone’s identity has been stolen, although the help that is offered is in reality fairly minimal.

Risk of Identity Theft

The crime of identity theft  occurs when a criminal is able to obtain unique information about an individual, and then use that information to clone their identity. This cloned identity then becomes liable for a wide range of financial fraud, perpetrated by the criminal in the name of the individual’s identity that has been stolen.

In order to steal an identity, it is generally accepted that there are a number of specific pieces of information that someone needs.

These normally relate to areas of information that are unique to that individual, and cannot apply to anyone else, such as their date of birth, their social security number or national insurance number, passport etc.

In reality, a criminal will try and obtain as much information about that individual as possible, in order to build up a picture that can be used to effectively represent them in a fraudulent manner.

Preventing Identity Theft

There is no sure way to prevent identity theft, but there are certain things you can do to make it more difficult.

Perhaps the most important is to make sure that all information that is unique to you as an individual regarding tax and social security, pension benefits, medical benefits etc is sent to you by regular post rather than email.

This may seem fairly basic but the is in truth probably the most practical way of preventing unique information falling into the hands of criminal.

The other things that you can do are to monitor things such as bank accounts, credit cards etc, to see any unusual activity.

This can also apply to any strange letters or visits or phone calls  that might seem to imply unusual activity regarding your finances.

Any warning sign that your credit is being altered in some way that seems to you unlikely should alert you to the possibility of some type of identity theft or identity theft tampering.

Dealing With Identity Theft

If you discover that your identity has been stolen, there are a number of steps that you should immediately following. Firstly is to notify your bank or credit card company you believe your identity has been stolen, and ask for their assistance in helping to resolve it.

Make sure that they are willing to work with you to sort out the issue without penalising you by way of freezing  your account or anything similar.

Make sure you register the identity theft online, there is normally a government backed websites available, that is either a government site or a law enforcement site that allows you to lock the fact that you have had your identity stolen, and should be able to provide some assistance in terms of helping to recover it.

If your stolen identity has been used to fraudulently obtain a loan or a credit card, make sure you collect all the information you can about it before it is completely disabled and shut down to  help track and trace the initial fraud.

Identity Theft Insurance

Some type of identity theft insurance is normally offered  by way of a rider or endorsement to a home or homeowners or renters insurance policy. The cover it gives normally focuses on some type of financial assistance for help with attorney/lawyers fees, assistance with credit monitoring, acting as a liaison with banks, insurance companies to try and resolve ongoing fraud issues etc.

Whilst this help can be of some value, the real help that is needed with virtually types of identity fraud is unravelling fraud that has taken place, and getting banks and financial institutions to believe that it has actually happened in the first place.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that implies that banks tend to want the individual to prove their identity has been stolen to an exacting degree before they are willing to consider the possibility that fraud has taken place.

Proving identity theft  has taken place can be quite difficult, especially where it is the sort of crime where you are up against a number of institutions that initially may well not believe you at all. This is an area where some type of identity theft insurance would be really invaluable, but unfortunately most current insurance policies do not really provide much value in this area.

Identity Theft and Cyber Insurance

Whilst the scale of identity theft is hard to assess, what is fairly clear is that the growth of cybercrime and cyber security means that the amount of identity theft and fraud is bound to increase fairly substantially over the next few years.

It is becoming easier and easier to know more and more about people, whether they want you to or not.

Some of this is around information gathered from social networks, and what people post online about themselves, privately and professionally. The growth of the Internet of things, and of big data, means that the amount of information available are people, with or without their knowledge, is going to explode into a level that is almost incomprehensible at todays levels of knowledge.

Sometimes this information is gathered through hacking into corporations websites where personal data such as credit card etc has been stolen.

Current cyber insurance policies are mainly aimed at businesses and organisations, and the insurance companies that offer best practice seem to include some type of incident management team, that includes lawyers, IT specialists, reputational management specialists etc.

The insurance policy is designed for a team to come in and take over the running of dealing with the cyber attack, both negotiating a successful outcome and restoring integrity of the system as well.

It is likely that as the rate of identity theft grows, insurance companies will need to provide some type of incident management team for individuals as well, either as part of an existing insurance policy, or as an add-on to some type of specialist cyber insurance policy.

The Internet of Things – What is it?

The Internet of things is a collective term for all the various devices, products and wearables that can connect to each other, and to the Internet as well.

Whilst the idea of devices talking to each other, electronically, has been around for some time, the reason the Internet of Things has become a huge concept in more recent times is because of the sheer volume of devices and products that can access the Internet.

Various experts predict growth in the market of the Internet of things to be so huge over  the next 5/10 years that it is almost impossible to put it into any sort of context.

What is undoubtedly true is that there is a relentless drive by manufacturers of every single product to make sure that they are able to connect their device wirelessly to the Internet.

This has huge  implications, not only for the nature of society and how it will change, but for people’s privacy, the control of the information that pertains to their life and their security and well-being.

Moral questions aside, perhaps the most potent issue is that of cyber security and cyber insurance.

Given that in a  few years time virtually everything we own, drive and wear is likely to be connected to the internet wether we like it is or not, the potential risks in terms of some type of cyber attack are enormous, and there are significant implications for people’s safety, both physically and emotionally and financially.

How these risks are managed and understood, both by way of minimising them and insuring against them is a major challenge that has yet to be clearly addressed.

Internet of Things and Smart Homes.

When people think of the internet of things they normally think of smart homes and smart home devices. This is largely because most examples of the Internet of things have tended to paint a picture of how wireless devices will make people’s lives easier by automating normal everyday functions, whether it be driving home from work, fixing the evening meal, automating lights and music in the home, controlling heating levels etc.

Whether normal people actually find the idea of this attractive or not is debatable, but what is clear that virtually all current devices and products that are now being built and produced for the home will contain internet capability.

This is true whether it be a smart television, a baby alarm, a refrigerator or a washing machine. What is also likely is that these devices will be switched on by default, and it is not clear yet whether there will be any capability for turning them off so you are not wirelessly collected.

There is also a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that a lot of major companies are pushing out products that have internet capability with a speed that is more about getting to market quickly and riding on the wave of popularity that the internet of things seems to be generating, than it is about really understanding the security  implications of what they are doing.

What’s this means is that there may be many products that are reaching market that has not been fully tested or manufactured with security in mind, and may need continual software updates or patches to make sure they are secure.

The risk of a cyber attack in a smart home mirrors many of the current risks that a business or organisation will face in its current day-to-day operations.

The dangers inherent in smart hones are not so much that someone’s refrigerator is at risk of attack, but that someone can access a person’s home network through one of these devices, such as a baby alarm or a washing machine, and through that gain access to the  individual or families private data.

Wearables

When people talk about the Internet of things they are also talking about wearables. These can currently only be best thought of as smart watches and fit bit devices. The last couple of years show that  major tech companies have been experimenting with different types of wearables, such as glasses, watches and even tattoos as a way of connecting people to the Internet by things that are a part of their body or apparel.

What is really important to realise here is the principle. That tech companies wants to find at least one wearable that people feel comfortable having on them at all times that can access the internet.

Obviously from a tech company’s point of view it is preferable to have more than one, but one will do. For this reason major tech companies will happily experiment with different types of wearables until they find one that really hits the market.

The implications for wearables are pretty much the same as for those of a smart home.

The fact that an individual will have something connected to their body that is internet accessible means that they are much more at risk of a cyber attack, with all the security implications already mentioned.

Wearables are not simply about phones and glasses.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that manufacturers of clothes, shoes, shirts etc are looking at ways of inserting internet access and internet products, probably by way of some type of barcode, that would give them information about individual and their shopping habits.

There is also anecdotal evidence of manufacturers of  pillows and bed clothing doing the same thing, again under the pretext of collecting information about how an individual sleeps and  various sleep patterns.

Often, once people understand the implications of how their life will be fully monitored 24 seven via access to the Internet, there is some shift towards a fight against it in terms of privacy and control of their data.

Whilst both these areas are hugely important, they sometimes skew perhaps an even greater need for the understanding of cyber security and cyber insurance to minimise and manage these risks with some degree of safety.

Internet of Things and Autos

In the space of only a few years, most manufacturers of cars and trucks are talking about and developing autonomous vehicles.. No one really seems to be asking the question why, there is a general assumption, often untested, that it is about safety, and that somehow self driving cars and trucks are safer than those with a human behind the wheel.

It is worth going back to the original Google car that was the first self driving vehicle.

That had nothing to do with safety at all. Google’s first car, that resembled more of the old bubble car, was designed with one particular aim in mind. It saw the commuter market, particularly in the West Coast, where people would sit in their cars in gridlocked traffic for approximately fours a day, two hours each way, doing nothing other than look at the scenery around them.

Google saw these cars as opportunities to provide consumers with content that could carry advertising. This meant that if the car could drive itself, the individual could spend time either watching content or playing with content, having a screen in the middle of the car and not having  to worry about where it was going.

As manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon of this, the narrative slightly changed and people started talking about safety.

Quite where it will end up is unclear, but what is clear is that  the trend in most modern cars is to turn them more into infotainment centers than vehicles than can be driven on highways and byways.

The rise in the use of technology in cars, both inside the engine and inside the vehicle itself, is enormous.

What this also means is that the security implications are huge as well.

There seem to be too likely scenarios that are likely to develop in the future. One is the rise of  autonomous cars that drive themselves with no human involvement  at all, the other scenario is where technology is used to automate a number of functions within the vehicle, largely around safety, but with a human driver still in  overall control of the vehicle.

Both scenarios are likely to coexist for a significant period of time, and both have fairly obvious cyber security implications.

The most common threat that is talked about is where someone manages to take control of the vehicle remotely by way of hacking into the cars various systems, and this is obviously a very real threat.

The other major threat, less often talked about, is where someone manages to access the cars computing system through the individuals smart phone, which will largely be used to control most of the on-board Internet access.

Once someone has managed to hack into a smart phone, then it’s open season for all the information contained therein, whether it relates to banking details, credit cards, passwords etc.

It is not clear yet how auto insurance or car insurance will manage and insure these risks.

One reason for this is simply that at the moment it is very difficult to quantify these risks, let alone assess who is responsible for them, and what can be done to minimise them. One thing is likely, which is that the risk of a cyber attack will undoubtedly increase the cost of an individual’s car insurance, whether it is an autonomous vehicle or not.

Agriculture and Energy Management

There are many areas in business and commerce where the internet of things can undoubtedly speed up production and efficiency, logistics and inventory control. There is likely to be a significant cost in terms of human labour, but history seems to suggest that companies don’t worry about this too much.

Two areas that are worth looking at briefly are those of agriculture and energy management. Agriculture especially because it relates to the food that we would eat, and the internet of things could dramatically alter the nature of farming and farming techniques.

Energy management is the other area, which has a direct link to smart homes and the use of energy in businesses and factories. One of the great selling points of the internet of things  is that it can make people’s homes more energy efficient, thus saving them money and conserving energy and fuel at the same time.

Energy management is already a crucial issue in society, even if not all politicians are open to doing what needs doing to effect climate change.

The internet of things has the potential  to manage all types of energy industries and infrastructures with a much greater degree of efficiency and safety. This also means that there is much greater scope for a cyber attack, either around the issue of nuclear plants or oil and gas installations etc.

Again the issue from a cyber security and insurance point of view is assessing the level of risk, understanding how best to minimise that risk, and arranging some type of cyber insurance that can effectively deal with the implications and reality of any type of cyber attack or disruption.

Smart Cities

There is also a lot of talk of smart cities. This is where cities use the collective data generated by all the internet of things within a city or town, generated by cars, sensors, Wi-Fi networks, peoples wearable’s etc as a way of planning urban development  in a more efficient and productive manner.

Again the security implications are significant, as more and more people generate more and more information and data, that is collected and analysed, then there is obviously a greater risk of that data being accessed and stolen, with real implications in terms of cyber security and identity theft.

What is Big Data and A.I?

The term big data refers largely to the massive amounts of information and data that has come with the growth of the internet, and with the growth of the mobile internet in particular.

To understand big data, you really need to understand databases, and the relationship between information and how it is used.

What is a Database

Imagine that you own a business which employs say 10 to 15 people, and when each one joined the company they will fill in an application form that details say  30 / 40 specific pieces of information about themselves.

This information would be their surname, christian names, date of birth, place of birth, previous jobs, start date,  qualifications, skills etc.

You would probably also want to record information such as their starting salary, additional payments, date of annual appraisals, pension contributions etc.

Once you have collected all the application forms for all the employees,  you would want to have a system where you could record it all and access any of the information whenever you needed it.

The easiest way probably would be to set up a spreadsheet, where you allocate a row to each individual employee, and fill out each piece of information in a particular cell going along the row.

Once you had done this for all employees, you would have 10 to 15 rows of information going a long spreadsheet,  and maybe 30 or 40 columns going down the spreadsheet which gave you the collected information for the specific areas for all the different employees.

That quite simply is a database.

Databases have been around pretty much since paper was invented, but have only really become significant with the advance of computational power, firstly with mainframes and lastly with PCs and the internet, and currently through cloud computing.

A database can be the information collected by a community organisation with three or four members,  or a massive multinational with hundreds of thousands of employees scattered across the globe.

The common factor in most databases is that you have very specific areas of information, which can be stored in very logical ways, itemised and analysed by virtue of  their field or category.

Growth of Big Data

Many experts claim that 90% of all the information available in the world today has been generated in the last two years (@2018). Whilst this is a difficult claim to verify, it is most likely true that somewhere near this figure is probably reasonably accurate. The growth in online information has come about through the massive expansion of the mobile Internet, and the different types of data that have been produced.

Big Data Types

When people talk about big data. what they are really referring to is the information that has been generated on smart phones, desktop computers, trading platforms, different learning machines. the various types of programs that have generated big data include blogs,  video sharing platforms, social networks, podcasts etc.

The sheer volume of these combined posts and tweets and webpages is almost too big to comprehend any meaningful level.

Big Data Analysis

Big data is not simply about the sheer volume of data and information that is generated at the moment (2018)  it is also about how this information can be stored used and analysed.

Aside from huge privacy issues, there are real questions about who has access to this information and what it can be used for.

Companies want to use it to be able to target individuals specifically for advertising and products, governments want to use it for a range of different purposes, some probably more devious than others.

The problem from an analysis point of view, is that the information generated by way of social networks and tweets etc does not fit into a traditional database as outlined above.

This has meant that the manipulation of data to generate extra focus  is virtually impossible. This means that other ways have had to be found to analyse information in order to be able to use it as other people see fit.

Internet of Things

What ever the accurate figure is as to the level of information that has been generated today in 2018, it is going to be dwarfed by the amount of information that will be generated over the next five or 10 years with the massive growth of the Internet of things, more clearly explained here.

The significance of the Internet of Things in relation to big data  is that it seems to be open season for virtually everything related to an individual’s life to be made wireless, so that companies and governments can get access to the information about how people live their lives.

This presents huge issues not only in terms of privacy, but also in terms of security. The more that people’s homes, cars, clothes, wearables, pets etc are connected to each other and to the Internet, the more at risk they are of some type of cybercrime, and the more need there is for some type of cyber security program and some type of cyber insurance to cover the risk.

The Four V’s of Big Data

Quite often reference is made to what are known as the Four V’s of big data. These are most commonly volume, variety, velocity and  voracity.

Volume refers to the sheer scale of data and information that is generated minute by minute across the globe.

Variety refers to the different types of data and information that are generated, from audio to video to written, with the advent of virtual worlds and 3-D world’s this could change significantly.

Velocity refers to the sheer speed at which this information is generated, and the problems in terms of analysing it that are relevant to that.

Veracity refers largely to the accuracy of the information or data that is produced. Given that companies and governments want to rely on this information in order to analyse it, there are real difficulties and problems in terms of verifying how accurate it is.

Hadoop

Hadoop  is an open source software system, run by Apache, that is effectively the current de facto way of analysing  big data.

What it essentially does is to break the data down into significantly smaller chunks, direct these chunks to a wide range of different computers which can analyse it efficiently, and then these computers send back the results to Hadoop, which collects it and generates the finished analysis.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are often linked to big data, because it is recognised that it is virtually impossible for any human to effectively be able to analyse and make sense of the data has been produced.

This has given free rein to companies to produce some type of process of  artificial intelligence which can analyse and make sense of  big data. The implications from a societal point of view, and from a privacy point of view, are pretty terrifying to a lot of people, but there seems to be no appetite by any government or organisation to really try and put some sort of break on it.

The supposedly benefits of artificial intelligence are sold as being a legitimate reason for developing it at breakneck speed, with examples given such as Netflix and Amazon, and governments or cities ability to use data to improve public services within those cities.

These claims are at best probably highly dubious, and give credibility to the speed with which this whole process is taking place. The issue of security and privacy seems to be completely ignored or marginalised, with those who raise them being looked at or talked about as almost Luddite.

It may well take some major catastrophe in terms of cyber security to wake people up to the reality of what is happening, and the inherent risks associated with this breakneck speed approach to technological change and advancement.

 

 

What is Cyber Insurance and What does it Cover?

Cyber Insurance is a dedicated insurance policy, that provides both financial cover and practical help to anyone who has been victim of a cyber crime. At the moment, this type of policy is mainly aimed purely at businesses and organisations, of all sizes, any of whom could be vulnerable to a cyber attack or a data breach.

This is likely to change significantly in the near future as more and more areas of people’s individual lives are becoming vulnerable to Cyber attacks, such as their cars and their homes,  and the whole nature of cyber insurance will have to evolve to deal with these threats.

This is likely to mean that either people’s home insurance or their car insurance will have to start covering the risks of a cyber attack, or cyber insurance policies will have to evolve themselves to cover these areas.

Cyber Insurance and Indemnity

Insurance companies talk about indemnity, which is an important concept to understand. It means that the insurance policy is designed to put the insured in the same position as they were before the loss happened.

With regard to cyber insurance this means that not only is there financial protection included as part of the insurance policy, but the insurance policy  should also cover practical areas of help, such as lawyers, I.T. technicians etc. Some cyber insurance policies do include these extra areas of help, and some don’t.

Deciding what type of cyber insurance policy to buy is often determined by how much additional help is available, in the policy, in the event of a data breach, and quite often the cost will reflect this.

Cyber Crime

Cyber crime is considered one of the, if not the fastest growing area of criminal activity, and is widely evolving and quickly changing. This makes keeping up with an understanding of current threats more difficult, but there are a number of specific areas that need to be understood.

Cyber crime normally refers to a situation where information or data has been stolen from an individual or an organisation, normally known as a data breach, and there is either some financial loss as a result, some reputational damage, or something such as a ransom demand to release a computer or network that has been encrypted by a third party hacker.

Cyber Insurance Policy Cover

These are the basics of what good cyber insurance policy can offer,  although as said above, policy cover will differ significantly between insurance companies.

Incident Management Team

This is a general term for a team of specialists who can effectively take over and oversee the management of any claim as soon as there is a known reporting of a cyber crime. This can include the paying of any ransom demand,  and the restoration of any I.T. systems that have been breached as a result.

This support team  should be able to investigate the data breach, find out how it happened, restore any computer systems to full integrity, notify any clients or customers that the data breach has happened and it’s implications, and notify any relevant regulatory or statutory bodies that need to be told.

The incident management team should also include a legal team, a company that can offer access to a credit monitoring system to help with the risk of identity theft, a PR company who can help with reputational damage, and a specialist who can negotiate in the event of a kidnapping demand for a time of information or ransomware.

The Cyber Insurance Policy  will also need to have a significant financial indemnity cover, which may be needed to pay any ransom demand, loss of income  or business interruption, any type of cyber extortion or criminal activity. and any costs needed to repair the infrastructure of the computer or network system involved.

Who is at Risk ?

People often tend to associate cybercrime with big companies such as Facebook or Sony, or with governments, as data breaches that affect them tend to be the ones that get the most publicity.

In fact anyone who owns a computer that is linked to a network of any type is potentially at risk.

This applies to people who have a computer connected to the internet in their own home, as well as any computer they may use at work, it also applies to any smartphone that they may have, and quite soon will apply to the car they drive and the washing machine and refrigerator in their home as well.

Whilst it is difficult to predict trends in this area,  there is quite a lot of anecdotal evidence that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting normal everyday people for relatively small amounts of money, through various types of ransomware and threats, as well as big companies and corporations.

It is very easy to scare people into giving away small amounts of money, relatively, and in some ways this can be much more cost effective from the criminals point of view. From the point of view of the person who has experienced the crime, they are like his feel as violated as if they had either been physically attacked or their home had been broken into.

The Internet of Things

There is often reference nowadays to the internet of things, normally in the context of how it is going to change everyone’s life within the next 5 years.

What it is really referring to is that virtually every device that is not being produced is being given a wireless capability so that it can connect to the internet, as well as connecting to other devices in the home or office.

This means that anything from a refrigerator or an oven, through to a baby alarm or your car can connect to the internet and speak to other devices. There is a huge area of debate about the implications of this regarding privacy and other things,  although what is absolutely clear is that it is going to present a huge potential risk of cybercrime.

Companies love the idea of be able to connect their devices or products to the internet and other devices, and the rush to do so and get them to market often means that the security capabilities are not as carefully thought through as they should be, and that software updates are not issued or installed automatically as they should be either.

Some people like the idea of a smart home or office, other people find the idea pretty horrible. Either way in the next few years virtually everything that every individual owns or uses is likely to have the capability of connecting to the internet wirelessly.

This has huge security implications,  and is an iisue the insurance industry has not fully caught up with them. This means that most people standard home or auto insurance policy is vague about its cover in this area, and people could be left in limbo as to whether or not they are covered for any data breach that happens in their own home.

Identity Theft

The risk of identity theft has been around for some time, but with the growth of cyber crime and the amount of personal information that is shared online and through smartphones means that the risk of identity theft is probably now greater than ever.

From an insurance point of view, some home insurance policies do already provide some degree of cover for identity theft, either as part of the policy or add an additional section that can be bought at  extra cost.

The problem with the existing level of cover is that all it really does is help provide access to additional levels of credit checks and a few other useful but not really that important areas of restitution.

What most identity theft insurance protection does not do is actually help the person recover any loss that may have been incurred as a result of their identity having been stolen.

What tends to happen is that a person will have their identity stolen, and then the criminal will use that  person’s identity to obtain bank loans or credit cards or other financial benefits in that person’s name, and then run.

When  the original person discovers that their identity has been stolen and fraudulently used,  the anecdotal evidence is that most banks and other institutions are relatively unsympathetic, and the onus is on the individual to prove that they did not take out the loan or credit card etc.

This  is where an insurance policy could probably help,  but at the moment there seems to be little by way of practical benefit that most policies offer. This  may well need to change with the growth of cybercrime and cyber insurance.

Cyber Bullying

It  is worth flagging up cyber bullying as being a major element of cyber crime,  although it is not often thought of as such because the bullying tends to be emotional rather than financial.

The consequences of cyber bullying can be devastating for individuals and families, and whilst there may not be an awful lot that an insurance policy can do, the overall approach to cyber security can have a hugely beneficial effect in terms of minimising the effect of bullying, and taking steps to deal with its perpetrators.

Liability Insurance

Many  companies and organisations believe that they already have enough  cyber security insurance under different levels of liability insurance that they have already taken out. These types of insurance policies can include product liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance  or simply a public liability insurance policy.

In truth, they are unlikely to have sufficient cover, and any cover they do have is likely to be financial only, and not include any incident management team as specified above.

One of the problems is that there a lot of companies and organisations who do not have a sufficient cyber governance program, and therefore do not take cyber security as seriously as perhaps they should.

Cyber Governance

This is the name given to any structure within a company or organisation, which should represent best practice for establishing policies and procedures that both minimise the risk of, and deal with any data breach  that may occur within the company.

It can be thought of as similar to a risk management structure,  and depending upon the size and structure of the business, should have a dedicated board member partner who has specific responsibility all aspects of cyber security.

This position does not have to be a person  who has a lot of technical knowledge of computers,  but needs to be someone who can implement a policy which includes both technical and non-technical assessments of cyber security risks and how best to deal with them.

iPhone Data at Risk

While Facebook desperately tightens controls over how third parties access its users’ data – trying to mend its damaged reputation – attention is focusing on the wider issue of data harvesting and the threat it poses to our personal privacy.

Data harvesting is a multibillion dollar industry and the sobering truth is that you many never know just how much data companies hold about you, or how to delete it.

That’s the startling conclusion drawn by some privacy campaigners and technology companies.

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