In 2022, global cyberattacks on corporate networks rose by 38% compared to the previous year, with the insurance and legal sectors seeing a staggering 47% increase. This alarming trend highlights the pressing need for robust cybersecurity measures in the insurance industry, which handles vast amounts of sensitive data.
As cybercriminals continue to exploit vulnerabilities in technology, managed IT services for the insurance industry have become an essential component of a company’s defense strategy. Here are some of the critical cybersecurity threats that target insurance companies.
The Phoenix CryptoLocker attack on CNA Financial that cost the company $40 million is a prime example of the potential risks and repercussions insurance companies face from ransomware attacks.
Such cyber threats can cause significant disruption to operations, leading to lost revenue, decreased productivity, and erosion of customer trust. Additionally, these attacks can result in substantial expenses related to remediation, legal fees, and regulatory penalties.
In order to mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks, insurance companies need to focus on bolstering their cybersecurity measures. This involves adopting up-to-date software and defenses, investing in all-encompassing cybersecurity solutions, and consistently maintaining multi-layered security strategies to safeguard their valuable data and systems.
Compromise and Sale of Policyholder Data
The compromise and sale of policyholder data pose significant challenges for insurance companies. With Personal Identifiable Information (PII) being highly valuable to cybercriminals, unauthorized access can lead to various fraudulent activities that negatively impact insurers and their customers.
Insurance companies face risks such as regulatory fines, litigation costs, and loss of customer trust due to data breaches. Furthermore, they require extensive remediation efforts to recover from such incidents.
To safeguard policyholder data effectively, insurers must prioritize robust security measures, including identity and access management, firewalls, and VPNs. These tools help ensure that only authorized users have access, block unauthorized intrusion attempts, and provide secure remote connections, ultimately mitigating the risks associated with data breaches.
Social Engineering and Phishing Attempts
Social engineering and phishing pose significant risks to insurance companies. Employees who handle numerous files and emails daily are particularly vulnerable. To counter these threats, companies must invest in cybersecurity training to help employees identify them and respond effectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a spike in phishing emails, exploiting remote work vulnerabilities and underscoring the need for constant vigilance and adapting security measures to evolving threats.
Preventing social engineering demands robust security protocols and employee awareness. Therefore, companies should consistently train employees to identify phishing attempts while implementing multi-layered security strategies.
Cloud and Application Security Vulnerabilities
The insurance industry has rapidly adopted cloud services and digital applications, streamlining data storage and access. However, this adoption comes with potential security vulnerabilities, such as insecure APIs, misconfigured storage, unauthorized access risks, and application security weaknesses.
To address these challenges, insurance companies must implement secure coding standards and proper security measures for cloud services and applications. Ensuring a solid security foundation can protect sensitive data and prevent costly breaches.
Inadvertent Disclosure and Mismanagement of Confidential Data
Inadvertent disclosure and mismanagement of confidential data can seriously impact insurance companies. Negligent actions, such as mishandling documents or improper storage, can cause data leaks, exposing sensitive information and putting insurers and policyholders at risk.
To avoid such incidents, insurers should enforce strict cybersecurity protocols for handling and managing sensitive data, including proper document disposal, secure storage solutions, and controlled access to confidential information.
Insurers should also limit authorization to specific personnel, granting access only on a need-to-know basis. Logging access history enhances security, allowing companies to track and monitor data usage, detect potential breaches, and hold those responsible for mishandling information accountable.
State-Sponsored Threats and Hacktivist Attacks
State-sponsored threats and hacktivist attacks are increasingly concerning for the insurance industry. State-sponsored actors, often supported by foreign governments, target insurers for espionage, economic gain, and sabotage, posing significant risks due to their advanced skills and resources.
Hacktivists, motivated by political or social causes, can target insurance companies to make a statement or protest specific policies or practices, causing reputational harm, loss of customer trust, or financial losses.
Insurers need tailored security policies and threat intelligence to combat these threats. By using managed IT services for the insurance industry, they can access specialized expertise and stay updated on the latest threat landscape, enabling proactive defense against state-sponsored and hacktivist attacks and ensuring continued security and integrity of their systems and data.
Boost Your Defenses with Incident Response and Contingency Planning
Incident response and contingency planning are essential for an insurance company’s cybersecurity strategy. Comprehensive Incident Response Plans (IRPs) prepare organizations to respond quickly and effectively to cybersecurity breaches, covering detection, analysis, containment, eradication, recovery, and post-incident activities.
Regular data backups and secure storage locations minimize the impact of cyber attacks. Insurance companies can limit data loss and maintain business continuity during and after security incidents by safeguarding critical information. In addition, secure, off-site storage and encryption offer extra protection for sensitive data.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence increasingly contribute to cybersecurity, improving the security system’s ability to detect and prevent threats. These advanced technologies analyze large data sets to identify vulnerabilities, monitor suspicious activities, and anticipate emerging threats.
Leverage SeaGlass Technology’s Expertise to Strengthen Insurance Cybersecurity
Insurance companies must constantly refine their cybersecurity strategies to address the evolving threat landscape. Trust is vital in the insurance industry, and maintaining it with customers and partners is crucial for success.
By partnering with a provider of managed IT services for the insurance industry, such as SeaGlass Technology, insurers can access specialized expertise and tailored security solutions. To enhance your cybersecurity and protect your organization, reach out to SeaGlass Technology’s expert team today at 212-886-0790.