Don’t Get HACKED

Don’t Get HACKED

Cyber crime is on the rise. Protect your business
from unseen threats.

Kids today will never understand the ubiquitous
accessory that was the attache case, prior to, say
1987. The pinnacle of business-cool sophistication,
carrying an attache case proclaimed to the world that you were an important business person with access to sensitive information that couldn’t be carried around in just any briefcase – it had to be a briefcase with a combination lock that clicked open importantly  when Unlocked.

It wasn’t just about looking the part; attache case was practical. For the likes of insurance brokers visiting
clients at their homes, the attache case was the on-the.
go equivalent of the filing cabinet at the office, keeping
sensitive information under lock and key. There was a
danger that our case might get stolen or someone might crack your combination and steal the documents inside. But if you kept your eye on it, it was relatively safe.

Crouching hacker, hidden threat

As the world becomes increasingly digital, the attache case has been replaced with a laptop and these days sensitive information is stored in the Cloud. Digitisation of documents has many perks – It requires far less physical storage space, information is much quicker to retrieve, Back-ups mean there’s less risk of information being lost to accidents like fire or water damage and, theoretically a virtual document should be harder to steal. However as
technology has advanced to make cyber storage more secure, so too have cyberattacks become more cunning.

“The biggest cyber-risk is that the world of of financial services has shifted online and into Cloud – and if something’s online, it’s vulnerable,” says Dr Eugene Wessels, Chief Technology Officer at King Price Insurance. “Financial Service Providers (FSPs) remain one of the most attractive targets for Cybercriminals, simply because of the nature f their business and the type of information they hold”

When an FSP falls prey to cyberattacks, it’s not just information that is at risk, “Perhaps the biggest threat for FSPs is your reputation,” says Wessels. “Clients trust you to protect their data, so a network security or data privacy breach doesn’t just have a massive impact on your clients – it can also cause serious and lasting damage to your business.”

New-gen attacks

The Covid-19 pandemic forced a rapid adoption of digitalisation within the financial services industry, even among those sceptical of the technology. It was, of course, an acceleration of the inevitable. But while it has allowed businesses to streamline processes and action changes that clients – and staff – may otherwise have been reluctant to accept, it has also exposed non-tech-savvy people to a new world of cyber threats. And criminals have been quick to take advantage of their vulnerability. 

“Recently, we have seen more frequent and sophisticated data breaches and phishing attacks,” says Xiáne Francis, Assistant IT Manager at MUA. “Insurance companies are ideal targets for cybercriminals due to the large amount of sensitive data we manage, which includes personal Identifiable Information (PII).”

Criminals may impersonate someone within the organisation – and an individual who is already under stress, not tech savvy or perhaps just eager to be helpful, could get taken in. “We’ve seen that cybercriminals often try tactics such as posing as a CEO or financial manager and will send fraudulent emails or messages to employees to obtain confidential information or directing employees to click on malicious links,” Francis continues. “These attacks could result in financial loss, damage to our reputation, and even legal repercussions.”

This type of attack, known as phishing or social engineering, exploits human vulnerability, rather than infiltrating  a company’s system. And South Africans who, by and large, have less experience doing business and transacting online than those living in more developed countries, may unfortunately be particularly susceptible to these types of scams.

“Cybercrime remains a huge problem for so many South Africans, with research suggesting that more than 70% of the country’s citizens have fallen victim to cyberattacks or other risky activity, compared to a 50% global average,” notes Ryan Van de Coolwijk, Product Champion: Cyber, for iTOO Special Risks.

“Currently, the most common drivers from a cyber insurance claims perspective are business email compromise attacks, which have surpassed cyber extortion and ransomeware attacks as the vector of choice for cybercriminals.” he adds.

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