Unfortunately, cyber-attacks on small businesses have become increasingly common. It comes with the territory: the more we rely on technology to manage and conduct business, the greater the likelihood your company will be targeted by hackers.

Cyber-attacks are on the rise everywhere and across industries, from the many types of fraud and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to online scams. Among the more high-profile attacks of late is the ransomware attack suffered by the bookstore chain Indigo Books.

But smaller companies and startups are not immune to cyber-attacks. A recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey highlights this fact, finding that almost half of Canadian small businesses (45%) experienced a random cyber-attack, and 27% endured a targeted attack in the past year.

Understanding cyber liability insurance.

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That emphasizes the need for small businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity defences and ensure they have cyber liability insurance coverage to deal with the aftermath of an attack should it happen.

Although the causes and types of attacks vary, here are five common cyber liability insurance claims businesses make:

1. Data Breach

A data breach is a cybersecurity incident in which external attackers or an insider steals or exposes a business’s confidential or proprietary data. Most data breaches are attributed to malicious software (malware) attacks such as viruses, but they are also the result of employee error. Regardless, the cost of a data breach to your organization can be devastating. 

2. Phishing Attack

There are different types of phishing attacks, but most are conducted via emails containing a malicious link that come from what appears to be a legitimate or reputable source. Clicking on that link instantly downloads malware onto your computer or network, giving cybercriminals access to passwords, customer accounts, and other sensitive information. 

3. Spoofing

Spoofing is a technique cybercriminals use to masquerade as a trusted source. It can take different forms: emails, websites, text messages, or the altered caller ID of a phone used to call you. The hacker’s goal is to fool you into believing they’re the real person or organization contacting you so that you divulge private information, click on a malicious link, or open an attachment in an email that downloads malware onto your computer. 

For instance, if you receive an email that appears to be from Amazon updating you on the delivery of a purchase you didn’t make, and you click on a link in that email, the hacker can harvest your username and passwords.

4. Social Engineering

Social engineering is a term used to describe a wide range of cyber-attacks. It’s a method by which cybercrooks attempt to manipulate people into voluntarily providing confidential information about themselves or their employers. It exploits mistakes people make so a hacker can gain control of a computer or network. There are multiple social engineering attacks, like phishing, spear phishing, and tech support scams. All are designed for compromising your network to steal data or money.

5. Ransomware Attack

A ransomware attack, like the one that hit Indigo Books, is a form of malware that encrypts an organization’s information to prevent legitimate users from getting access to their network or computer files until they pay a ransom. 

The most famous example of a ransomware attack is the “WannaCry” cryptoworm that infected computer networks in 150 countries in 2017, demanding bitcoin ransom payments. 

A small business that’s hit with a ransomware attack has almost no ability to function until the ransom is paid. But there are no guarantees the encryption will be removed after paying the cybercriminal.

How Cyber Liability Insurance Can Help Your Business

Responding to a cyber-related incident is often the costliest part of any cyber-attack. That’s where the value of cyber liability insurance makes a difference. It is designed to help cover your costs following a cyber event, including response costs, system and software restoration, business interruption, legal advice, credit monitoring, and crisis management expenses.

No small business or startup operating online should go without cyber liability insurance. Complete an online application to get a free quote for your insurance needs from Zensurance. Let us help protect your business and assets from cyber-attacks and other risks.

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About the Author: Jon Hogg

Jon Hogg is the Senior Team Lead, Renewals, at Zensurance.