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  • Writer's pictureSarkis Kaladzhyan

The Real Cost of a Cyber Breach & How Insurance Can Help

Your own a small business that is dependent on technology. Hackers know this all too well. They also know that small businesses are the easiest targets.

Think about this scenario: you cannot access your business systems because of ransomware. What options do you have? Calling the authorities will not help you get back online and as in most cases the hacker is overseas. The best option will be to pay the hacker what he/she wants so that you can get back to running your business. Thinking of hiring a Cyber expert to un-hack your business will cost $50,000 or more and there is no guarantee that it will work. Cyber Insurance is there to pay off hackers and provide a variety of services to you and your clients in the event of a cyber breach.

Cyber Exposure: What’s the Real Cost?

Cyber security has now become a necessity for every business that uses technology.

Nearly every business is at risk of potential cyber attacks. Cyber threats constantly

evolve and adapt, making it difficult to both identify and block them. Many business

owners don’t understand the extent of their own cyber exposure and the devastating

costs that these attacks bring. CNBC reported that the average cost of a cyber attack

is now $200,000. With the damages of cyber attacks rising, many small businesses

are forced to close if they don’t have the proper coverage.

So why would any business owner choose not to protect themselves against cyber

risks? Sometimes, they simply don’t realize they’re at risk. Or, they may severely

underestimate the damages associated with these attacks.

Cyber Claim Examples

Taking a look at examples of cyber exposures can help demonstrate the damages

associated with a cyber attack and who could potentially be at risk. As you’ll see, a

wide variety of industries are susceptible to cyber events or data breaches.

Here’s how types of cyber insurance coverage can protect your clients.

So why would any business owner choose not to protect themselves against cyber

risks? Sometimes, they simply don’t realize they’re at risk. Or, they may severely

underestimate the damages associated with these attacks.

1) Healthcare

A private healthcare clinic was the victim of a cyber attack in which patient

information was stolen from their computer system. The hackers threatened

to post the data publicly unless they received a ransom payment of $13,220 in

Bitcoin. They contacted their cyber insurers who helped the healthcare clinic’s

IT team immediately fix the vulnerability. A local IT forensics specialist began

verifying the hacker’s claim and was able to confirm that data related to 3,000

patients had been compromised. However, this was data related to names and

addresses only.

Ultimately, it was decided that they would not pay the ransom. Instead, their insurer

connected the healthcare clinic with a crisis communications consultant who

helped them notify all affected parties. They did not hear from the hackers again.

The cost of the IT forensics team and the crisis communications company were

both covered under their cyber liability insurance policy, less their deductible.

2) Retail

An online retailer utilized a data center as the host of its company website. When

the data center suffered a cyber attack in which an internet of things device was

breached, their network failed and the retailer’s entire website was inaccessible.

They contacted their cyber insurer, who provided IT services to get their website

back up and running in six hours by subcontracting with an external service

provider. During those six hours, they lost nearly $100,000 in sales and revenue.

Ultimately, with the costs of recovering the website, lost revenue, and incident

response expenses (IT forensics, firm, legal consultation fees, and incident

response manager fees) the total cost of the cyber attack was $144,000. Without a

cyber policy, the retailer would have faced these expenses out of pocket.

3) Manufacturing

An employee of a car components manufacturing company clicked on a malicious

link in a ransomware email and the company’s service was infected with malware,

encrypting all data. The hackers demanded $13,040 in Bitcoin within 48 hours in

order to release the encryption key.

The manufacturing company contacted their cyber insurer who enlisted an

IT forensics team to review the threat. Ultimately, they decided not to pay the

ransomware demand. The costs of their incident response and the data recovery

cost a total of $60,000. Their IT forensics team assigned by their insurer helped

lead them through the most prudent course of action when faced with a ransom


4) Food Service

A restaurant suffered a ransomware attack, which affected their entire server. They

were unable to utilize their registers, effectively forcing them to shut down.

They contacted their insurer who, after exhausting all options, helped them

determine that they would have to pay the ransom. Their insurer covered the costs

of the ransom demand, the costs of the IT team’s work on applying the decryption

key and ensuring that all systems were back and running appropriately. They also

enlisted a breach coach to determine if any personally identifiable information had

been compromised, along with the revenue lost under business interruption. Had

the restaurant not have had a cyber policy, they would have been out of pocket


5) Professional Services

A financial controller of a law firm received a call from the firm’s bank advising that

there had been some suspicious wire transfers in the firm’s account. The caller

requested the firm’s password and pin code to freeze the account and protect

the remaining funds. The financial controller provided him with the requested


The next day, the financial controller contacted the bank and learned that they had

no record of their prior conversation. TThey advised that $118,830 had been wire

transferred to a number of overseas accounts, all of which were too late to recall.

As this transaction had been authorized by the financial controller, there

was nothing the bank could do. As the firm had a cyber liability policy with cybercrime coverage with social engineering, they were able to recover the stolen funds, less their policy deductible.

6) Communications

A public relations firm noticed an issue with their emails. After their regular IT

contractor investigated and realized there was likely malicious activity, they

contacted their insurer who enlisted an IT forensics team. It was confirmed that

they were the victim of a cyber attack in which their system was infected with

cryptojacking malware, which mines for currency. The forensics team was also

able to determine that the hackers had likely compromised personally identifiable

information in their system. The forensics team removed the malware and corrected the vulnerability in its system to ensure network security. Their insurer then hired legal counsel to assist the public relations firm with their notification obligations for all parties affected by

the data loss. The total cost of the claim between IT forensics, legal and notification

costs was ultimately $50,000.

Get Cyber Insurance, Get Protected

As you can see, cyber security threats are a serious concern for organizations in

nearly every industry. As business owners, it’s important that you act now and get your

organization the protection it needs to survive. As cyber attacks grow more serious

every day, minimize your exposure with a cyber policy.

Contact us to get cyber insurance quote started today!

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