Cybercrime –  a worrying new risk

Features Posted 08/02/19
Cybercrime is a new and worrying risk warns Roger Morgan, managing director of Farm & General Insurance.

This is especially true for farmers and businesses as we become more and more reliant upon technology. Grain driers, irrigation equipment, milking parlours, livestock records – the list is endless.

Cybercrime losses are not currently insured under a farm-combined policy. However, police authorities predict that over 80% of farms should expect a cyber-attack in the next two years.

The good news is that cyber insurance is available however only well-informed insurers and brokers seem to be bringing it to the attention of their policyholders.

The risk, often termed cyber liability in insurance jargon can be summarised as follows:

Own costs

This includes damage to your own equipment, loss of data and the cost of reinstatement.

Business interruption

We have been informed of examples where robotic milking parlours and irrigation equipment have been put out of action for a number of days. This cover can normally be included in a cyber-liability policy and will not be covered under a standard business interruption section of a farm combined policy.

Notification costs

The loss of data and personal details will need to be reported to the data protection authorities and all affected persons. This can include advising your suppliers and employees that you have lost their data. These costs can be covered under cyber-insurance policy.

Third party costs

Other people can claim against you for allowing a criminal to steal details from you. In addition, if your computer transmits viruses to other people’s computers because of the hack you might also be liable. Especially if you have failed to update your antivirus software or protect your passwords. This can cost many thousands of pounds. It is a standard element of a cyber-insurance policy.

Extortion

Much of the cybercrime involves ’ransom’ attacks which demand money so that your computer can be unlocked or data returned. A recent example would be the attack on the NHS. Again, this is not covered by standard insurance policies.

Insurers also provide very effective support 24 hours of the day with teams of professionals who are able to assist in the reinstatement of your systems following a cyber-attack. This in itself can be extremely useful because often we do not know how to address the situation without professional guidance.

Financial fraud

Cyber liability policies can often be extended to include another sinister criminal activity. The area of financial fraud is often mistaken as cybercrime. This would be the falsifying of bank details on false invoices or the theft of a password for Internet banking. Often emails are used to extort this information. It is difficult to quantify the effects of such criminal activity on farms as victims often feel they are partly to blame for being conned. However, I am regularly surprised when I hear first-hand accounts of how seemingly secure farms and their personnel have been duped out of very significant sums of money by paying a false suppliers invoice. Again, you need to ask your insurance adviser for the options.

You should be receiving positive and proactive advice from your insurance provider on these very important areas. I believe these risks very often exceed more traditional risks like workshop theft or storm damag

At Farm & General Insurance we always discuss cybercrime and other ’emerging’ risks with our farmers at our annual renewal meetings. My team and I would of course be very pleased to discuss these options with all farmers.


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