Computer Security Day 2021: Defending Against Cyber and Hardware Threats

With 30th November being Computer Security Day, we’re once again taking a closer look at a number of software and hardware security risks that you and your clients should be aware of

Following a turbulent 2020 for businesses, this year has again seen many organisations and employees continuing to work from home due to the pandemic – which has directly contributed to the rise in cyber crime. The first half of 2021 saw a slight decrease in vulnerabilities (a weakness which can be exploited by a threat act), when compared with the first half of 2020. However, despite this slight decrease, there was still a significant amount of incidents recorded – with a 600% increase in global cyber incidents since March 2020. From the start of the year up till September, it was estimated that so far there has been a total of 996 security incidents and 4,132,751,378 records.

What type of cyber threats are there?

When looking at prevalent cyber risks that businesses face in 2021, it’s no surprise to see that the most common threats include phishing, social engineering and malware attacks. As we covered in our recent blog, phishing is the most common cyber threat, with 83% of businesses and 79% of charities experiencing a phishing scam in the last year. Meanwhile, social engineering or ‘impersonation’ attacks affect around 27% of businesses and 23% of charities – with these attack methods becoming increasingly sophisticated through the use of deepfakes and social media.

Another all too common threat that businesses face in 2021 is from malware, which refers to software intentionally designed to disrupt, damage, or gain access to a computer system. As with social engineering or phishing, malware attacks can come in many different forms, with the fastest growing of these being a ransomware attack. In these attacks, a victim is forced to pay in order to reobtain their data from the hackers. Ransomware attacks are commonly aimed at businesses within the banking, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, financial, and retail industries, as they are more likely to need the data to continue operations or protect their clients.

While cyber risks remain a growing concern for businesses, hardware threats to computer security systems must also be considered as they can cost organisation’s time, money and just as important, customer relationships.

Education is key

With there being so many ways hackers can get into your systems, it’s important to educate your staff to know how to defend against both software threats including; network security, data security, cloud security, mobile security, along with hardware threats. With this in mind, businesses need to invest not only money into security systems, but time and effort into ensuring employees can identify and avoid common cyber threats such as phishing scams. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective steps that businesses can take to improve their cyber security, such as integrating MFA (Multi-factor authentication) on websites and applications.

The need for cyber insurance for SMEs

Despite the common misconception that that cyber threats only affect large businesses, the reality is that many UK SMEs will experience some form of attack and these can be potentially devastating for smaller organisations. Reports reveal that more than 67% of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees experienced a cyber attack in the last year, with 58% experiencing a breach – which can often result in the business being unable to continue operations.

Here at NMU, we have our platform that is broker administered and offers a simple step-by-step quote and bind cyber e-trade solution. It includes a premium indication and target premium feedback facility and immediate issuance of full contract certain quotations and policy documentation.

How can you increase your computer security?

As we embrace hybrid or remote working environments, we should think more about leaving devices unattended and thankfully protecting your computer from a hardware attack can be fairly straightforward.

Ways to do this include, locking your computer screen when leaving it unattended, turning your computer off when you aren’t using it for a long period of time, and using strong passwords.

In terms of passwords, it’s best to include a combination of words and numbers which are difficult to for hackers to hack, with ‘Password2021’ no doubt being an easy first guess for criminals. Regular password rotation is crucial.
Fortunately, with the development of technology over the years, we now have the additional ability to protect devices through fingerprint and facial scanning in order to unlock devices and access certain applications.

As far as physical security is concerned, a Kensington lock is a device which allows you to tether your laptop/computer to an immovable object so it cannot be physically taken. These can especially useful to use when working in shared offices or public spaces, such as a coffee shop as additional security from theft.

Whilst there are many options to package computer insurance risks within commercial insurance products, we believe the cover provided often isn’t adequate enough. A typical concern around placing computer in isolation away from a commercial combined policy is the potential for the client having to pay a deductible or excess on both policies, in the event of damage to both the insured premises and computer equipment.
We have alleviated this concern by including a deductible waiver, where the insured benefits from paying just one deductible or excess for the incident.

Our computer insurance policy is tailored to suit a business’s individual needs, that includes key features like, BYOD extensions, cover outside of the UK for all hardware, cover in shared offices, gardens and non-permanent buildings, and portable items covered 24/7.

Multi-risk discount

Until 31st December 2021, we are providing a multi-risk discount of 50% on Computer Insurance when placed at the same time as a CyberSafe Insurance policy for the same policyholder. This multi-risk discount is available up to a maximum of GBP500.

Contact us

For more information about Computer or CyberSafe Insurance, contact your NMU Development Underwriter.

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