Dramatic increase in business cyber attacks, claims Mactavish


New research from Mactavish, the specialist outsourced insurance buyer and claims resolution expert, reveals that 21% of businesses have suffered a cyber-related loss in the last three years, and just over two thirds (69%) say this happened in the past 12 months.

Mactavish has previously warned that several specialist cyber insurance policies have flaws and won’t necessarily provide the cover businesses are looking for. Research conducted at the end of 2019 identified eight key weaknesses in many cyber insurance policies, including cover being limited to events triggered by attacks or unauthorised activity – excluding cover for losses caused by accidental errors or omissions. 

Another flaw is that several policies provide limited cover for data breach costs – for example covering costs that the business is legally required to incur as opposed to the much greater costs incurred in practice.

Mactavish’s research found that 41% of businesses interviewed claim that since the Coronavirus crisis started, the level of potential cyber-attacks they are facing has increased.  Of those businesses interviewed which have suffered a cyber-attack in the past three years, 69% said its impact was significant or very significant.  

Some 67% of managers and senior executives interviewed are now more worried about cyber attacks than they were three years ago.

In terms of what types of cyber-attacks businesses say they have experienced over the past three years, 56% say they have received email-based scams, followed by 31% who say they have been targeted with malware, and 11% with potential data theft – see below. 

Cyber-related attacks Percentage of businesses interviewed who say they have experienced this type of attack over the past three years
Email-based scams 56%
Malware 31%
Data theft 11%
Insider attacks 9%
Ransomware 8%

Says Bruce Hepburn, CEO, Mactavish:

“Our research findings are very alarming as they show that cyber-attacks are a very real and growing threat facing businesses.  The impact of these can be very significant, making it all the more important that employers have adequate insurance cover against these.

“We conducted very detailed research into the construction of cyber policies at the end of 2019 and found that many had major flaws that seriously undermined the cover they offered. From what we see in our day-to-day work, some of these are still prevalent. This an area that firms should think very carefully about – an off the shelf product simply may not deliver the protection they are seeking.”

Chris Price
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