Cybercrime costs the UK economy a cool £11 billion a year1 – £210 for every British adult1. And as cyber criminals develop ever more sophisticated methods of targeting our personal accounts and information, it’s clear that online fraud is here to stay.
Cyber hacking, cyber stealing – siphoning money from online accounts – identity theft and even physical removal of IT security systems are just some of the sophisticated tactics being deployed.
With British police warning that they’re struggling to keep up with the pace of tech developments and the growing number of reported cases, high net worth individuals are particularly at risk.
In the light of these worrying developments, how can clients take steps to protect themselves and their assets in the virtual as well as the physical realm? In addition to taking care with privacy controls and investing in the best up to date security software, choosing the best insurance cover is a must.
Oak is one of those offering customers the ultimate peace of mind – with Home Cyber Assistance cover now included as standard with their home insurance cover.
Underwritten by market leaders, DAS UK Group, it is one of the only policies to provide protection against cyber-attack as part of its basic cover. So why is cybercrime such a hot topic? And why are British and international high net worth individuals becoming a particular target?
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)2, cybercrime has now reached ‘epidemic’ proportions in the UK, with fraud the most prolific type of criminal offence, up eight per cent on last year’s levels.
The annual Crime Survey for England and Wales included cyber offences and frauds for the first time in its 2017 report, published earlier this year3. It found a staggering 3.6 million cases of cybercrime and fraud and two million ‘computer misuse’ cases reported in the previous 12 months alone. As John Flatley, from the ONS, explains:
“In the past, burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then. When the crime survey started [35 years ago], fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented. Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence.”
A series of recent attacks on high net worth individuals have pushed the issue further into the public arena.
In 2014, then US President Barack Obama had his private emails hacked, while Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg found his social media accounts had been breached in 2016.
Celebrity David Beckham was one of a number of British high net worth individuals targeted by hackers last year, in a case that showed the potentially devastating consequences of such an attack. After cyber security at his PR agency was breached, sensitive material, including 18.6 million emails and messages, was stolen4.
The criminals went on to demand a £1 million-plus ransom for its safe return – threatening to release the content unless team Beckham complied.
His case shows how a data breach can be used to cause or threaten to cause serious damage to an individual, brand or business, seemingly overnight. When you consider how disarmingly simple this type of ‘remote’ crime is, it’s easy to see why the high net worth market is such an attractive target for cyber criminals and hackers.
High wealth levels, multiple assets and public profiles all contribute to the sense of vulnerability surrounding these targets, with personal staff and security teams providing several points of potential access for unscrupulous hackers.
So what kind of protection should clients be looking for? What kind of solutions can we recommend? And how is the current market able to provide them? As with all insurance, protection and compensation are key.
So cover might be expected to restore a financial loss caused by cybercrime or, in the case of identity theft, to meet costs associated with privacy breaches, restoring identity settings and documents.
There may be a need to look at IT consultancy too – to recover documents, repair damage caused by hackers, carry out forensic audits and apply new security measures. In more serious cases, individuals may wish to look for increased protection against the ongoing threat of cyber extortion.
As brokers, here at Oak we are proud to have enjoyed a long and distinguished relationship with the high net worth market. One that includes responding to their changing needs over time.
In today’s climate that means always taking cybercrime seriously. Helping clients find the best and most relevant cover for almost two decades, we have worked closely with DAS in the past and are proud to be partnering with them again to offer reassuringly comprehensive cover.
As one of the only UK underwriters offering Home Cyber Assistance cover as standard, they are leading the way when it comes to providing best fit protection for the high net worth market and promoting client confidence.
In a world where attacks are becoming the norm, it seems we ignore them at our peril. As always, being under-insured is a risk none of us can ever afford to take.