Cornell Insurance Blog

Business Exposures: Is Your Company Safe from Cybercrime?

Posted by Cornell Insurance Services on May 23, 2017 12:02:06 PM


Here’s a quick way to determine whether your company could become a victim of cybercrime. Does your company use computers with internet access? If the answer is yes, then your company could indeed be the next target.

Cybercrime is a growing threat. In 2015, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 288,012 complaints and noted $1,070,711,522 in reported losses. There are many different types of cybercrime. For modern businesses, malware, data breaches and online scams pose a serious risk.


In early 2016, the FBI reported an increase in ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a specific type of malware. After infecting a computer, it encrypts the files found there. A message then demands payment in exchange for the return of the files. The recent WannaCrypt infection is an example of this.

According to a statement from Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, WannaCrypt infected 150 computers, and the organizations affected included FedEx, the UK National Health Care Service and Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company.

Other types of malware can also infect a company’s computer and result in an interruption of business.

Data Breaches

In a ransomware attack, the hackers are not necessarily interested in the data they encrypt. In other forms of cybercrime, the data is the primary target.

A single data breach can expose the sensitive details, including financial information and health records, of thousands or even millions of individuals and expose those individuals to identity theft.

This can damage the company’s reputation and result in lawsuits. CNN Money reports that Target agreed to a $10 million settlement to compensate individuals, a $67 million settlement with Visa and a $39 million settlement with several banks after a data breach that affected approximately 40 million people in 2013.  

Other Scams

A variety of phishing scams, in which criminals trick victims into revealing sensitive information, are a danger for both individuals and businesses.

In the business e-mail compromise scam, criminals trick businesses into sending wire transfers or writing checks. The FBI warns that this type of scam has been on the rise since 2015. From October 2013 to May 2016, 14,032 businesses fell victim, resulting in $960,708,616 in losses in the United States alone.

Keeping Your Business Safe

A quiz from the Pew Research Center shows that most people have major gaps in their knowledge of cybersecurity. The average respondent got only five out of 13 questions correct. Only 54 percent could identify a phishing scam, and less than half of the respondents were confident in their knowledge of wi-fi and email encryption standards.

For a business, this represents a huge risk. A company cannot assume that employees know how to avoid cybercrime. It is increasingly important that companies train all workers on internet security.

Companies must also make sure that their equipment is protected with up-to-date software, including anti-virus software. Data should be backed up regularly in case it is lost to malware. Businesses should also consider purchasing cyber insurance to help mitigate the damage of a possible cyber incident.

Last but not least, don’t forget cyber liability insurance – in today’s world, it’s no longer a “nice to have.” Contact us to learn more.

Topics: business exposures, cybercrime