Insurance companies have already become targets to hackers who breach the personal information of its customers. Insurance agencies too will become targets to cyber attacks irrespective of their size and specialty, says an article by Insurance Journal.
The number of insurance agents and agencies who reported cyber attacks is low, but the threat is there, according to an insurance technology expert, Steve Anderson. “Of more concern are agents who may have had a breach and don’t know it. There’s no question that the numbers and the risks are going up because of the automated programs that probe for vulnerability,” he said.
The most common method is employees who allow phishing attacks which use false emails that contain viruses. Jay Shelton, Assurance’s senior vice president of risk management services said that agents should realize their exposure is tied to the risks of their clients. Healthcare is more vulnerable to such phishing attacks. Employees of agencies stealing information is also common, believes Shelton.
Data breaches can occur through loss of mobile phone and its data, unattended papers, server or computer theft, unprotected e-mails with personal information, hacking into an agency server. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to what is called ransomware, where a code locks up computer files. A ransom is demanded to free them.
Anderson believes the best way to counter is by education them of these threats. Simple steps taken by them like log and maintain mobile devices used on the field, adhering to strict regulations, allowing remote authentication to access, using secure e-mail system can make a huge difference, say experts.