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How do you deal with online threats? In this article, Martyn Turner of Dunsby Associates offers some advice on protecting your business.

The risks that companies face from cyber threats sadly remain all too real with the loss of data, pecuniary loss and equally as important, loss of reputation following breach, all requiring serious consideration.

We have been discussing the emerging risks with our clients for a number of years, and back in May 2017 we contacted them all again to highlight the effects of the global-headline-hitting WannaCry ransomware attack. Whilst ransomware malicious software still remains prevalent, our own experience over the past 12 to 18 months has centred more on the likes of impersonation fraud and funds transfer incidents, where significant losses and interruption to services have regrettably been experienced by a number of our clients. In this period we have additionally seen a large increase in the number of ‘near misses’. Whilst some of the methods used by criminals to gain access to systems or to extract information are well documented, some of the attacks that we have handled would have been extremely difficult for the company concerned to have identified in advance.

To help protect against cyber attacks it is vital that companies not only seriously consider the adequacy of their IT security, but also ensure that their practices include regular staff awareness training, which is equally vital in helping to prevent a loss or breach from occurring. Whilst most companies will have procedures in place, to help counter impersonation fraud and funds transfer risk, it is certainly an area worth reviewing again.We regularly direct companies to the guidance offered on the Financial Fraud Action UK’s website, and on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website. As the criminals become more sophisticated it is obviously important to keep developing procedures to react to the more realistic requests that are increasingly being seen from the criminal gangs.  

The frequency of both phishing and ransomware attacks seen by cyber liability insurers has increased over the last few years, with these attacks affecting a wide range of sectors and industries, including both small and large companies. For this reason, cybercrime remains a key focal area for Dunsby Associates in our discussions with clients, including crime insurance and cyber liability insurance solutions.  

Cover is available for losses suffered as a result of ‘social engineering’ under some crime insurance offerings. Cyber liability affords both first party and third party coverage with the key aspects of cover including:

  • Incident response and investigation costs
  • Crisis communications and reputational mitigation costs
  • Network or data extortion
  • Liability arising from the unauthorised use of a network
  • Liability arising from the failure to maintain data confidentiality
  • Business interruption loss as a result of a network security failure or attack

Whilst the purchase of such insurance protection will not prevent an incident from occurring, and they are no replacement for strong IT security and well-communicated verification procedures, they can afford sound protection to a business should the unfortunate happen and should be strongly considered as part of a company’s overall risk management strategy and insurance portfolio.

Dunsby Associates would be pleased to provide further information on cyber liability and crime insurance, including claim examples and indication of costs. Please feel free to contact Martyn Turner on 0121 631 8902.

About Dunsby Associates;

Dunsby Associates is recognised as a leading independent insurance broker handling risk management and insurance solutions across a wide variety of services and industries. Our team is highly experienced and skilled, working with a wide variety of business sectors, and we have full access to the UK insurance market which enables us to design an innovative programme of protection for our clients. We adopt an entrepreneurial approach to the challenges that our clients face and are committed to the delivery of practical solutions. We have a dedicated technical claims resource to manage any claims, providing assistance and advice to ensure any impact on our client’s business is kept to a minimum. For further details please visit


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