Professional and financial services firms are the sectors hardest hit by cybercrime, according to a new report by insurance giant AIG, which also reported that the total cyber claims received by it nearly doubled in number between 2017 and 2018. 

Almost a quarter (23%) of all cyber claims were for business email compromise (BEC) scams.  Nearly two in ten claims (18%) resulted from ransomware attacks, followed by 14% of claims for data breaches.

BEC attacks usually start with a phishing email, with recipients encouraged to enter their credentials into a bogus login screen.  When victims fall for the scam, this gives the scammers access to their email accounts, enabling the hackers to send and receive emails in the victims’ names.

The hackers often target individuals responsible for approving or sending payments, requesting that transfers are made to accounts controlled by the hackers.

Professional firms need to put in place robust security procedures and regularly refresh their staff on cyber security if they are to avoid attacks which can cause significant financial or data losses,” said James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions. “Any steps which can be taken by a firm to raise their own clients’ awareness of these cyber threats are also beneficial. We have seen a number of issues where the client had suffered a cyber incident which in some way touched on the professional service, but where the professional had done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, the commercial relationship between the parties was adversely affected. The best approach to this appears to be to try to minimise the number of issues which happen at all.”

AIG’s report on cyber claims was published as part of its Claim Intelligence Series

Brunel provides expert cyber-liability and professional indemnity insurance broking services to professional firms.  Visit our website to find out more or call Jonathan Filer on +44 (0)117 325 0752.