Cyber Extortion

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Extortion Statistics

Business marketing is evolving and so are the risks to businesses. From big corporations to small business owners, most of today’s businesses harness the power of technology to increase sales, automate tasks, and integrate marketing data. However, along with the implementation of modern techniques, there’s a corresponding proliferation of hackers and cyber attackers.

It seems nearly every day a cybercrime makes front page news. Criminal cyber attacks are on the rise across the United States and the world, and no business or non-profit organization is safe from hackers. Cyber extortion is one of the most common types of cyber crime that businesses need to be aware of. According to the FBI, costs associated with cyber extortion techniques like ransomware hit an all-time high last year.

What is Cyber Extortion?

Cyber extortion occurs when hackers access your sensitive data, including customer information and trade secrets. They hold this valuable information “hostage” in return for a sum of money. Hackers threaten to release this information to the public if you don’t comply with their demands.

Ransomware is a newer type of cyber extortion. In these cases, hackers download malware onto your computers or website locking you out. To remove the malware and regain access, your business is forced to make a substantial financial payment.

Cyber Extortion Examples

Some businesses think cyber extortion won’t happen to them. Here are some common scenarios where small businesses can become the victim:

  • Do you sell products online? Either from a warehouse or your kitchen table? Cybercriminals shut down these types of businesses everyday by downloading malware on a website or flooding it with too much traffic. As a sales business, you need your website up and running to make a profit. Can you afford the $10,000 demand that comes with an attack like this?

  • Many businesses store client information on the cloud or a server in their office. What happens when a cybercriminal steals client information including social security numbers and credit card information? Many times they demand thousands of dollars to return the information instead of publishing it online. And breach of client records can force a business to pay thousands of dollars in mandatory reporting costs.

How can you Protect Your Business?

While nobody has found a way to eliminate 100% of criminal cyber activity, businesses can protect their operations and bank account from the full impact of attacks like cyber extortion. Cyber Liability Insurance protects businesses from cyber and data breach claims including cyber extortion.

The best cyber liability insurance policies cover costs associated with:

  • Investigating the breach
  • Hiring an attorney to defend you
  • Public relations
  • Notifying those impacted
  • Loss of revenue
  • Program or data repair
  • Credit checks for those affected
  • Banking or credit card expenses
  • Complying with all state reporting laws

One of the best decisions you can make to protect your small business from cyber crimes is to purchase cyber liability insurance.

How can you Reduce the Risks of Cyber Extortion?

One rampant form of malicious internet attack that is affecting businesses is cyber extortion. With an attempt to damage, disrupt or gain unauthorized access on your system, the main goal of these attackers is to extort money from your business. Luckily, there some ways to stop the attack and maintain the integrity of your business.

  1.  __Know your data__ – you will never know how much risk you are exposed to unless you fully understand the amount of personal information your business holds about customers or clients. More data equals more risk and certain types of data are more sensitive.
  2.  __Create back-ups of everything__ – should your business fall victim to cyber extortion , even if you lose all  data saved locally on your computer, you still have the means to recover the data and rebuild your digital infrastructure.   
  3.  __Update security software regularly__ – there’s no better protection for data breach than preventing it from happening in the first place. Always update your security software, including malware and virus definitions, in a timely manner.
  4.  __Consider DDoS upgrades__ – Distributed Denial of Service attacks are very common to degrade a business system. Add an extra level of protection for your business to thwart DDoS attacks is an investment well spent.
  5.  __Do background check on your employees__ – It’s good practice  to check the social background and previous work history of your employees to safeguard against cyber extortion and for other liability reasons. Many cyber attacks begin on the inside.
  6.  __Protect your business with the right insurance__ – attackers would usually require you to pay a ransom in exchange for access to valuable data. Purchasing insurance that will cover you from cyber threats including cyber extortion protects the business you’ve worked to build and gives you peace of mind.

Are You Ready to Get Covered?

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