Co-operators: New business insurance coverage provides privacy breach protection

To help protect companies from the rapidly growing threat of privacy breach, Co-operators General Insurance Company introduced a new product today that provides insurance coverage and risk management solutions for Canadian businesses. The coverage complements commercial insurance policies and is designed not only to cover costs associated with a breach and the resulting liability, but also to provide expert loss prevention advice and support in effectively responding and recovering from such an incident.

The new Privacy Breach product provides two distinct coverage offerings to meet the changing needs of small and medium companies.

“Cyber criminals are continually devising new ways to access personal data online, and virtually every business in Canadais at risk. As large companies improve their data security, cyber criminals look for easier targets, putting small and medium businesses at greater risk,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Having good data security measures can reduce the risk of privacy breach, but no company can eliminate it altogether. We are committed to helping to protect Canadian businesses, and our privacy breach coverage provides the resources and coverage to help them before, during and after a breach.”

Privacy Breach Expense covers costs of responding to and mitigating the impact of a privacy breach. Privacy Breach Liability covers the amounts a company is deemed legally liable for, as a result of a breach. The product also provides clients with access to CyberScout, a leading provider of preventative education, proactive protection services and incident remediation support, to help reduce companies’ risk and effectively respond in the event of a privacy breach.

A privacy breach is an incident resulting in improper or unauthorized access, collection, use or disclosure of sensitive or protected personal information. Some of the most common privacy breaches occur when personal information is stolen, lost or mistakenly shared. Such incidents can do serious harm to a company, including reputational damage, lost revenue, significant legal expenses and fines. A recent study by Juniper Research predicted that criminal data breaches will cost businesses a total of $8 trillion globally over the next five years.

The new Privacy Breach coverage is available from Co-operators advisors across the country.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

How the cyberattack on Equifax unfolded and the fall out that followed

Months after hackers gained access to the personal data of millions of American, Canadian and U.K consumers through Equifax’s website, the company disclosed the massive cyberattack to the public.

It now faces multiple investigations and lawsuits in Canada and south of the border, while its shares have fallen more than 30 per cent in less than two weeks.

Here is a look at how one of the largest cyber attacks in history unfolded and the fall out that followed:

_ _ _ _

Early March: The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team detects and discloses a vulnerability in Apache Struts, a widely-used web-application software product.

_ _ _ _

May 13 to July 30: Hackers have unauthorized access to Equifax Inc.’s files.

The company later says the hackers gained access through the vulnerability in Apache Struts, which supports Equifax’s online dispute portal web application.

_ _ _ _

July 29: Equifax’s security team observes suspicious network traffic on a U.S. online dispute portal web application. The company’s security team blocks the identified suspicious traffic.

The company says in later communication that it “acted immediately to stop the intrusion.”

_ _ _ _

July 30: The same team observes more suspicious activity and the company takes the affected web application offline.

_ _ _ _

Aug. 2: Equifax contacts cybersecurity firm Mandiant, which spends several weeks conducting a forensic review.

_ _ _ _

Sept. 7: Equifax publicly discloses the cyberattack for the first time, saying it may have compromised the personal data of up to 143 million Americans. The company adds an unspecified number of U.K and Canadian consumers also may have been impacted.

On a website for affected U.S. consumers, Equifax explains that the complex and time-consuming investigation is behind the delay between its discovery of the breach and disclosing it.

“As soon as we had enough information to begin notification, we took appropriate steps to do so,” the company says.

_ _ _ _

Sept. 12: An Ontario resident files a proposed class action in the province, seeking $550 million in damages from Equifax, according to Toronto-based law firm Sotos LLP. It is one of at least two proposed class action lawsuits filed in Canada against the credit monitoring company.

_ _ _ _

Sept. 14: The Federal Trade Commission says it is opening an investigation into the hack.

The chairmen of two congressional committees say in a letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith that they are investigating the breach and ask for a slew of documents and a company briefing by Sept. 28.

_ _ _ _

Sept. 15: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada launches investigation into the breach.

Equifax says fewer than 400,000 U.K. consumers had some of their personal information compromised, but it was more limited in scope and unlikely to lead to identity theft.

The company says its chief information officer and chief security officer are retiring. Both are replaced with internal employees on an interim basis effective immediately.

_ _ _ _

Sept. 19: Equifax says about 100,000 Canadian consumers may have had their personal information and credit card details compromised in the cyber attack. The breached data may have included names, addresses, social insurance numbers and, in limited cases, credit card numbers.

Later that day, Equifax revealed that it also had a security breach earlier this year that involved a different part of the company than the one accessed in the larger hack.

The breach involved TALX, which is Equifax’s human resources and payroll service. The company said there’s no evidence that the TALX breach, which happened between March and April this year, and the wider breach are related.

____

Oct. 2: Equifax provides an update saying a completed review determined that personal information of approximately 8,000 Canadian consumers was impacted, down from its original estimate of 100,000.

However, it said the review added about 2.5 million Americans to the list of those affected by the massive cyberattack, bringing the total number of people in the U.S. potentially impacted to 145.5 million.

Know the Odds: The Cost of a Data Breach in 2017

Source: Security Intelligence: Larry Ponemon & Wendi Whitmore

We’ve all heard that when it comes to experiencing a data breach, the question is not if it will happen, but when. You may be wondering about the actual odds of it happening to your organization.

Think about it this way: The chances of being struck by lightning this year are 1 in 960,000. When it comes to experiencing a data breach, according to the Ponemon Institute’s “2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Overview,” the odds are as high as 1 in 4. Therefore, organizations must understand the probability of being attacked, how it affects them and, even more importantly, which factors can reduce or increase the impact and cost of a data breach.

Rapid Response Drives Down the Cost of a Data Breach

Sponsored by IBM Security and independently conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the 12th annual “Cost of Data Breach Study” is out. The findings revealed that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.62 million in 2017, a decrease of 10 percent over last year. Additionally, the global average cost per record for this year’s report is $141, which represents a decrease of 11.4 percent over last year.

Despite the reduction in cost, the average size of a data breach increased by 1.8 percent to 24,089 records. The influencers that impact the cost of a data breach are driven by the country and the IT initiatives underway.

The good news is that organizations can take measures to minimize cost and impact. The 2017 “Cost of Data Breach Study” found that having access to an internal or outsourced incident response team has been the top cost-reducing factor for three years running. An incident response team typically accelerates the time frame in which security events can be contained, which is a significant factor in reducing the overall cost of a breach.

The IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS) team specializes in providing incident response planning, program development, remediation and threat intelligence to clients in over 133 countries. The team has experience responding to and helping to contain many of the largest data breaches in the world.

Five Steps to Accelerate Your Incident Response

Listed below are five additional tips to help accelerate your organization’s response to a breach.

  1. Speed to respond is critical. The more quickly you can identify what’s happened, what the attacker has access to, and how to contain and remove that access, the more successful you will be.
  2. Set up retainers in advance. In the event of a breach, an experienced team of incident response experts can help you quickly identify and contain the attack, and minimize costly delays.
  3. Access the data needed to answer investigative questions. Be prepared to provide responders with logs and tools to help them understand what happened. For example, what did the attackers access and what did they copy or remove from your environment?
  4. Mitigate the attacker’s access quickly. Plan with the IT staff in advance to understand how to be effective and efficient in a crisis. Consider the following:
    1. How to execute an enterprisewide password reset quickly;
    2. How to reset your service accounts; and
    3. How many of your service accounts have domain administrator credentials.
  1. Establish an internal communications plan. If you have to shut down parts of your environment or reset thousands of users’ passwords, your employees will have a lot of questions. This speculation can have critical ramifications, so it’s important to document a plan to ensure that your employees understand what they can and cannot share publicly.
Insurance a second line of defence against cyberattack losses

Insurance a second line of defence against cyberattack losses

DAVID ISRAELSON | The Globe and Mail

Even if small or medium-sized businesses do everything to protect themselves against hackers, they may want to consider a second line of defence – cyberliability insurance.

It’s relatively new, but it’s a growing area for insurance companies. And with the advent of worldwide threats such as the recent WannaCry ransomware virus, it is suddenly a more urgent consideration than ever.

“We haven’t had a lot of requests so far, but it’s a huge field,” says Mark Lipman, president of Consolidated Insurance Brokers Ltd. in Toronto.

By the end of last year, the worldwide market for cyberinsurance was about $3-billion (U.S.), according to a report from Allied Market Research of Portland.

The market is expected to grow year over year by 28 per cent and reach $14-billion in gross premiums by 2022, Allied’s report says.

Mr. Lipman says that, to date, the SMBs his brokerage deals with tend to add on a small amount of cyber-related coverage to their standard commercial policies.

“It’s usually around $25,000 in coverage – which costs an extra $100 on a $1,000 commercial policy,” he says.

Mr. Lipman adds that his firm recommends that SMBs boost their coverage, because of the ever-growing risk of cyberattacks. “We put it [a recommendation] in all the letters we send, either to take coverage or to increase it.”

While this may sound like a self-serving sales pitch by insurers, trends and statistics suggest that the threat of attacks on SMBs is not only real, but also growing fast.

“Cybersecurity insurance is becoming a must-have for most businesses. There is simply no way for an organization to be completely protected from a breach,” say Rohit Sethi, chief security officer for Security Compass, a Toronto-headquartered firm that provides tech-based protection for corporate data.

“This is especially true for SMBs who rarely have security teams on staff and can scarcely afford many leading-edge security solutions. Insurance helps mitigate the financial impact to any company, but every business should treat it as an additional safeguard,” he says.

Small businesses appear to be growing targets for phishers, spear-phishers and cyber-ransomers. A report by security firm Symantec noted in 2014 that attackers targeted small businesses 34 per cent of the time – an increase from 11 per cent just three years before.

Lawyer Lisa Lifshitz, a partner at Toronto firm Torkin Manes LLP, says it has been estimated that criminals launch 3.5 new digital threats against SMBs every second.

Writing in Canadian Lawyer magazine, she said that, “29 per cent of all small businesses have experienced a computer-based attack that affected their reputations, involved the theft of business information, resulted in the loss of customers or experienced network and data centre downtime.”

While any SMB can be a cybercriminal’s target and suffer damage, the risk goes up if the business’s data is ultrasensitive. Since 2014, LawPro, the mandatory insurance program covering Ontario-based lawyers, includes coverage for up to $250,000 for cybercrime.

This coverage is “modest” for firms whose data can easily be compromised in, say, a $1-million residential real-estate deal. “We say modest because, like the fraud risks the profession has faced over the years, there is no way to predict the total possible exposure,” LawPro says.

Lawyers (and others) should always look to what’s covered and what’s not covered in their cyberpolicies, says Addison Cameron-Huff, a Toronto-based tech lawyer. “The interesting part of every policy is the exclusions,” he says.

Indeed, LawPro cautions its lawyer policy holders to “remember that any losses from cybercrime that are not connected with the provision of legal services will not be covered … [such as] damage to equipment or software, business interruption and reputational harm.”

Lawyers, and any other SMBs, can buy coverage that either pays out more or includes more possible types of losses. But it’s buyer beware, Ms. Lifshitz warns.

“Every insurance company deals with coverage differently. There are always going to be carve-outs” for situations that insurers won’t cover, she says.

Speaking in an interview, Ms. Lifshitz adds that insurance companies will do their own due diligence of SMBs before offering coverage. It’s the equivalent of having an inspector come to your house to see whether you have railings and fire alarms before you get home coverage.

If a smaller entity hasn’t taken the steps to become cyberinsurance ready, they’re not going to get coverage, she says.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has published a checklist for businesses looking for cyberinsurance. These businesses should ask themselves:

– How many records with personal information does your company keep?

– How much sensitive commercial information do you keep?

– What security do you have in place that might reduce your insurance premium?

– Do you need to encrypt all your laptops, phones and tablets?

– Do any third parties you deal with have unencrypted media?

– Would you be able to make a claim on the policy you choose even if you haven’t discovered a breach for several months or years?

Cyber mortgage fraud on the rise, lenders warn

Cyber mortgage fraud on the rise, lenders warn

Excerpted article was written by Duncan Hughes | Financial Review

Sophisticated mortgage fraud using authentic digital applications are on the rise, according to fraud experts tracking an estimated $1 billion in fraudulent credit applications each year.

Connective, a leading mortgage and service provider to broker networks, is warning about an increase in the use of new technologies being used to  deceive lenders and brokers.

“Technological advancements of digital applications enable people to create documents or change existing documents to be more and more authentic looking,” said Paul Palmer, a compliance manager for Connective, which claims to play a role in 10 per cent of the nation’s mortgages.

Mr Palmer warned there is a “significant increase” in the number of suspicious loan application referrals to mortgage brokers from real estate agents or other mortgage brokers.

 A referral is when one agent refers a client to another agent in return for potential future work.

“New-to-industry brokers are being targeted by people who have clients that can only service or get a loan through submitting fraudulent applications,” Mr Palmer said.

The cost of financial fraud in Australia is growing by more than one third a year, according to analysis by Equifax, which monitors data provided by the nation’s big four banks, international financial institutions, telecom providers and other credit providers.

Mortgage fraud increased by 13 per cent, the third fastest increase after personal loan (16 per cent) and consumer credit card (47 per cent) fraud, Equifax’s analysis reveals.

Imelda Newton, general manager, said online fraud and an 80 per cent increase in stolen identities – the fastest growing type of fraud – are fuelling the rapid increase.

More than 70 per cent of frauds happen in Melbourne and Sydney, with the highest concentrations in Sydney’s Parramatta and Melbourne’s north-west.

Identity fraud happens where genuine identity is stolen from an individual and misused for financial gain.

Other major causes of mortgage fraud include falsifying personal details, payslips, bank statements and tax assessments; failing to disclose debts, lying about financial commitments and fabricating identity.

“We see a lot of differences in fonts, in key financial data, and a lot of mathematical errors,” said Mr Palmer, who recommends brokers get certified identification.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigated 583 cases of misappropriation, theft and fraud in the six months to the end of August last year, a 3 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Online applications account for more than half of fraudulent applications followed by brokers, according to Equifax’s analysis of channels used by fraudsters.

Matthew Bransgrove, a lawyer with Bransgroves Lawyers and mortgage fraud specialist, said lenders and other financial institutions are not keen to admit the amount of fraudulent activity.

Mr Bransgrove said fraudulent activities range from opportunistic individuals to criminal networks that pay bogus loan applicants to submit fraudulent applications using false information.

“The fraudsters would not be doing it if they were not winning,” he said.

Local lenders began cracking down on overseas loan applications last year when they discovered a large number of applications were fraudulent.

For example, The Australian Financial Review recently revealed foreign real estate buyers paid about $200 each for forged bank income and spending statements used in mortgage applications, mortgage industry sources said.

Bilingual lending experts said a loan application in Chinese was a “ludicrously obvious forgery” for a $960,000 loan to purchase a $1.06 million Sydney apartment.

Since then, most of the loans have been stopped or are subject to stricter lending criteria. Self-employed applicants need to provide confirmation the business has been running longer than two years and details of ownership structure. There are also much more stringent checks on documents and identity.

Connective’s group legal counsel, Monique Hope-Pearson, said: “Culture and fraud continue to be big ticket items for the regulator. As an industry, we need to work together to ensure that all players are acting ethically and doing the right thing.”

Ms Hope-Pearson said it conducts regular review, provides policies, procedures and training to ensure compliance.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/personal-finance/cyber-mortgage-fraud-on-the-rise-lenders-warn-20170328-gv8m85#ixzz4crGT7xaf
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

2 Toronto residents face 18 forgery charges in ‘secret shopper’ fraud probe

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police say two Toronto residents are facing a total of 18 forgery charges arising from a nine-month investigation into what investigators are calling a “sophisticated mass-market text fraud.”

The investigation began in January when the RCMP was alerted by HCM Staffing Solutions that forged cheques bearing their company logo were being deposited by alleged victims in a so-called secret shopper fraud.

Police say they seized equipment capable of sending out 96,000 texts per day to random Canadians, allegedly in an attempt to victimize them, from a west-end Toronto apartment.

Investigators called the apartment a one-stop shop for sending text solicitations and forging cheques that appeared to be from reputable businesses.

It’s alleged those who responded to the text received a custom-forged cheque, which they were to deposit into their own bank account and then wire the money overseas to alleged confederates of the accused.

Police say when the bank discovered the forgery, it was the victim who had to repay the money and investigators allege each batch of 96,000 text messages had the potential to result in approximately $400,000 being stolen from Canadians.

In addition to HCM Staffing Solutions, Goeasy Ltd., and Ivari Insurance were among the Canadian companies whose logos were used.

Police say anyone who receives a cheque in the mail is urged to contact the company purported to have issued it to confirm its authenticity prior to depositing it.

 

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