Ransomware and the 'dark web': how personal cyber risk has evolved

Ransomware and the 'dark web': how personal cyber risk has evolved | Insurance Business New Zealand

Ransomware and the 'dark web': how personal cyber risk has evolved

CERT NZ’s latest quarterly report recorded a 21% rise in cyber incidents compared to Q1, with almost 2,000 reports of attacks from businesses and individuals across New Zealand.

Of these, 23% of incidents reported some form of loss. The report also noted that ransomware incidents had risen by 38% in Q2, with commercial businesses being the key targets, while scams and fraud topped the list for highest reported category.

With cyber risks very much on the rise, Delta Insurance recently came out with a new policy protecting individual households from cyber-attacks – a significant gap in the insurance market until now, especially given the minefield of cyber risks every person now has to contend with on a day-to-day basis. Kirk spoke to Insurance Business about some of the most common types of attacks individuals face, and the tools being developed to try and keep up with them.

“We’re seeing a lot of phishing incidents – things like bogus emails coming through, emails trying to look legitimate, get people to click on various links and give away their personal information,” Kirk said.

“The other prevalent one is the ransomware attack, and cyber extortion. What’ll happen is there will be malware installed on the computer, and the attacker will then try and hold that individual to ransom, threatening to hold their home network until they pay up.

“Those are the two most common ones, but there are plenty of other threats as well – things like trojans and viruses getting into home computers, which is the more traditional type of cyber-attack.”

Kirk says that organised online criminal activity is also becoming a significant concern, especially the leaking of personal information onto the ‘dark web’ – the internet’s evil twin, where stolen personal information can be bought and sold by anyone wishing to use it.

“The dark web is essentially the criminal version of the internet,” Kirk explained. “It’s what drives online criminal activity, so if you’ve got personal information on the dark web, that could be a problem. There’s quite an active trade of buying and selling people’s identities, credit card information, and so on.

It’s quite a scary prospect, and that’s why having something to help customers address their cyber risk upfront and couple that with insurance is really useful.”

Delta is currently in a partnership with UK-based company DynaRisk, an online risk management tool targeted at individuals. Customers can register their email address, and the tool scans the dark web to determine whether any personal information has been leaked.

Kirk says that ongoing education around this space is vital, and Delta is looking at producing a white paper for the benefit of its customers.

“Bearing in mind that this is a completely new product, we really see the need to educate both customers and our insurance broker partners in this space,” he said.