ICNZ reminds businesses of importance of cyber insurance

Many attacks against families, individuals and small businesses go unnoticed

ICNZ reminds businesses of importance of cyber insurance


By Gabriel Olano

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has reiterated the importance of cyber insurance for small businesses, as part of New Zealand’s Cyber Smart Week.

The organisation, which represents New Zealand’s general insurance industry, recounted the various high-profile cyber incidents this year.

In January, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand suffered a data breach, which resulted in the Privacy Commissioner issuing its first-ever compliance notice under the Privacy Act 2020. In May, the Waikato DHB was hit by an extended ransomware attack, which resulted in a temporary return to a paper-based system for the DHB, and, in September, the release of the personal information of some 4,200 individuals. Last month, several denial-of-service attacks were recorded, with Vocus NZ (owner of Orcon, Slingshot and Stuff Fibre), NZ Post, Inland Revenue, MetService, Kiwibank and ANZ among the targets. ICNZ noted that these were just the major attacks, and that many more attacks against families, individuals and small businesses go unnoticed.

Government cyber response agency CERT NZ’s latest report showed a slight decrease in the total number of incidents reported this quarter to 1,351, but financial losses grew 30% to $3.9 million. A steep increase in incidents was observed during the quick move to remote work when the virus hit last year. Ransomware incidents also grew by 150% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of this year.

Due to the increasing costs inflicted by cyber attacks, ICNZ urged small businesses to consider adding cyber insurance to the insurance policies they take out each year. However, it also reminded businesses that a cyber insurance policy is not a replacement for due diligence and good cyber hygiene against cyber threats.

“Cyber insurance can help manage the response to a cyber attack,” ICNZ said. “It can cover incident response, system remediation, defence costs if you are sued by a third party or charged with breaching legislation, reputation management, and extortion or ransom payments. It is also possible that some of your other insurance policies may provide some limited cover in the event of a cyber attack. If you are looking to insure yourself or your business against cyber risks, it is best to speak to your broker.”

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