Cyber crime: Insurers in the firing line
Insurance companies should shore up their cyber defenses against the rising threat from criminals and ‘hacktivists.’ Strong systems and governance are critical, along with a culture that takes data security seriously.

As banks get better at defending against cyber attacks, criminals are turning their attention to the insurance sector. In addition to money, thieves are also seeking premium rating tables, claims and accident and loss information, as well as customers’ personal and financial details.

The commercial and reputational damage can be significant, with further potential fines for inadequate systems and controls.

Four key sources of insurance cyber crime
  • Organized crime: highly advanced, organized crime syndicates make direct attacks, extract substantial ransoms or set up fraudulent sites selling fake policies
  • Petty criminals: largely opportunistic criminals looking to exploit system vulnerabilities
  • State sponsored: certain governments are stealing cash or data, sometimes during cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • 'Hacktivists' and terrorists: often targeting insurers that do business with drug companies, animal testing laboratories and defense companies
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