Will 2017 Be the Year of the Cybercriminal?

Cybercriminals are a crafty lot. Just as you address one type of risk, another surfaces. That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye on trends and the evolution of cyber theft. So what’s in store for 2017?

  • Dramatic uptick in attacks. This is probably an obvious assumption, but you may be shocked to learn that the number of cyberattacks in 2017 is predicted to be double the 2016 levels of more than 90 million, according to TechReport.
  • Physical losses caused by breaches require attention. We’ve sadly reached the point where standard data hacks are considered “hum-drum,” says The Economist, with most adequately covered by existing cyber policies. However, this coverage typically addresses only the direct costs a company faces due to a breach—business-interruption, notification, forensics. Yet with more automation and “smart” technology in use than ever before, the chances for physical loss or bodily injury following a cyberattack are now growing in significance. These “silent” cyber risks may trigger other policies, such as life, home or commercial-property insurance, which aren’t necessarily designed with cyber risks in mind, but may not exclude them either.

Consider all the potential risks you face if your technology is compromised—think beyond just desktop computers, evaluating every automated system you use (heating/cooling, machinery, alarms), and make sure you’ve adequately addressed each. (For more insight on these less obvious risks, please read Cybercriminals Steal More Than Data.)

  • Ransomware attacks become mainstream. Ransomware is when a victim is pressed for payment in order to regain access to their own stolen files and systems. This is a quick, easy way for thieves to get cash and they’re now targeting companies with increased frequency. A comprehensive backup system is one of your best protections. If a criminal encrypts your files, you don’t need to pay anything; just restore your files. However, make sure you’ve tested the efficacy of your backups before you face an emergency.
  • Cybersecurity is a consumer loyalty issue. Consumers expect 24/7 connectivity, but they also expect adequate protection. Drive online interaction by boosting confidence. Consider displaying certificates of security or other items that prove your due-diligence.
  • Boardrooms need a seat for the CIO. The IT department is no longer relegated to back offices, and companies should have their Chief Information Officer or equivalent expert involved with all aspects of organizational decisions. Cybersecurity needs to be considered each and every time technology is added to existing infrastructure. What seems like a good idea from a marketing, human resource or accounting perspective might be wrought with IT concerns. Don’t wait until launch to discover potential issues by including your CIO at the get-go.

They say there’s no rest for the wicked, so there’s no rest for those of us protecting against cybercriminals either. Technological innovation brings exciting opportunity for change, but it also challenges us to remain vigilant, so MJ is here to help. If you’d appreciate a more in-depth discussion of trends or a comprehensive review of your IT risks, please contact Carol Scully or Aaron Shields at carol.scully@mjinsurance.com or aaron.shields@mjinsurance.com  or 317-805-7500.