Optima Insurance Brokers Pvt. Ltd.


Our views on important risk issues and emerging risks.

Managing Cyber Threat

E commerce is growing. This explosive growth is being observed closely by various groups including cyber criminals who see it as a fertile ground for frauds This criminal activity affects the reputation of internet retailers and opens them to liability claims from their customers

In the last few years, e-­‐commerce has gone from being almost nonexistent to completely mainstream. But with the advent of Internet retail commerce, the Internet has also become fertile ground for the commission of cyber fraud.

This fraud affects everyone in the e-­‐commerce chain, and can cause catastrophic damage in the time it takes to click a mouse. For customers, cyber fraud can ruin credit scores and expose personal identification data that can result in identity theft. For retailers, who are responsible for the data of their customers that flows through the retailer’s cyberspace, damage can range from lost sales and devastation of brand reputation to regulatory fines and penalties.

How Cyber Fraud Happens

There are numerous ways e-­‐tailers are vulnerable to cyber crime:

  • A hacker breaches a computer network and steals personally identifiable information such as names, street and email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information. The customer’s identity may be stolen for the purpose of other fraud, costing the customer money and/or destroying his credit score.
  • An e-­‐commerce site contracts with an outside vendor to conduct all credit transactions. A hacker who compromises the network of the vendor has effectively compromised the e-­‐tailer as well, since it is ultimately responsible for customer data.
  • Click jacking occurs when a perpetrator sabotages the e-­‐tailer’s software code so its website re-­‐directs the customer to other websites offering anything from competing products to pornography. The result for the retailer is lost sales and potentially critical brand damage. Additionally, customers could incur computer viruses and other damage.
  • Hackers infect thousands of computers and then manipulate them to all simultaneously contact an e-­‐commerce website. This causes a massive slowdown or shutdown at the e-­‐tailer, and is sometimes followed by extortion. It always results in lost sales and business interruption.
  • In the course of attacking a network database, a perpetrator infects an e-­‐commerce website with a virus that subsequently infects the computers of thousands of customers. The customers bring a class action suit against the e-­‐tailer for not preventing the spread of the virus.

Managing Cyber Risks

Cyber attacks are not an illusion or passing problem: Just as e-­‐commerce is widespread today, so is cyber crime. It has become a risk of doing business, and all companies make some decision involving that risk.

In the cyber world, the danger of loss can be reduced through firewalls, data encryption, and other IT security techniques. But, as with all business risks, losses can still occur despite the best risk management. In cyber crime, there is an “arms race” between perpetrators of crime and preventers of systems breaches, and criminals win all too often.

It can be an intimidating field to enter, as botnets and other cyber fraud mechanisms continually evolve, becoming harder to detect. Some of the most well known retailers and e-­‐tailers – including Sony (maker of the PlayStation), Sony Ericsson, and Target Stores – have experienced major systems breaches that compromised personal identification data.

Now technology insurance can minimize or eliminate such risks.

What Technology Insurance Can Cover

Cyber insurance can pay for:

  • Inadvertent exposure of information governed by website privacy promises or confidentiality agreements.
  • Interruption of business function caused by malware and viruses, denial of service attacks, and other causes.
  • Data restoration costs when systems are compromised or data is rendered unusable.
  • Cyber extortion and public relations crisis management.
  • Errors and omissions in the operation of an e-­‐commerce website.
  • Lawsuits from customers for breaches, even if the loss occurs on a third-­‐party vendor’s network.
  • Stolen or lost data on paper files

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Optima’s core group has more than 100 man-years of experience in insurance. Our experience has trained us in reading the fine print of insurance policies, understanding it and applying it for the benefit of our clients.

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