Cover stories

Cyber – a growing threat

Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp, the Church of Scientology, aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin and the International Monetary Fund and pop star Lady Gaga have all suffered from hacking, data theft or related crimes.

The threat posed by computer hackers and cyber criminals is constantly evolving and growing. And high-profile network security breaches raise awareness about the need to adequately protect personal identifiable information.

When Sony was hit by hackers it was forced to admit that the cyber criminals had stolen the details of almost 80 million users of its PlayStation Network and estimated the resulting losses at around $170m.

Cyber criminals target large corporations and small entities alike so cyber and data security are risks faced by companies of all sizes. Any company that holds data or is connected to the web is potentially vulnerable to cyber risks.

There is also the added problem that the digital revolution that has taken place over the past couple of decades has allowed organisations to collect data in much larger volumes than previously practical and to archive it longer without physical space becoming an issue.

Data has also become more portable with staff often using laptops and data sticks at home or while travelling. Social networking brings risks too, both to brand and data security. The risk is increased as people are not just connected at work and home now as access to the internet is getting easier and easier via smartphones and other gadgets. Mistakes can go viral travelling across borders to millions of people within hours and once something is on the internet it is almost impossible to retract.

So a properly thought out media strategy needs to be implemented as part of an organisation's corporate governance and staff training. The risks need to be carefully considered and steps taken to ensure your systems have the best possible protection.

Markel's experts in its Professional and Financial Risks division can help advise on these exposures and are able to provide a solution for professional services firms. The modular cover will provide protection for the following risks:

  • Privacy and data breach liability
  • Notification and response handling
  • Regulatory investigation and reporting
  • Rectification and increased costs of working
  • Extortion threat response
  • Electronic media liability
  • Reputation protection