Risk Insider: Kevin Kalinich

Managing Malware Masterfully

By: | September 1, 2016 • 2 min read
Kevin Kalinich is the global cyber risk practice leader for Aon Risk Solutions, focusing on identifying exposures and developing insurance solutions. He can be reached at [email protected]

As ransomware morphed from low-severity consumer phishing to targeting entire networks of computers in hospitals, universities and businesses, it became more costly.

It also looks like email recipients have a lot more learning to do.

According to 2016 Verizon research, 23 percent of recipients open phishing messages and 11 percent of recipients click on attachments.

Ransomware, however, is just one version of “malware,” which includes all types of hostile or intrusive software, such as computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. Malware, which stands for “malicious software,” can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.

Entities should consider malware risks on an enterprise level.  It’s not just about IT. All employees, partners, customers and third-party outsourced providers should be considered.

The number of unique kinds of malware jumped from six million at the beginning of 2015 to just over 12 million by the end of the year, and the category of malware specifically targeting mobile phones has seen dramatic growth.

Organizations should quantify potential malware exposures in terms of financial statement impact and review potential available insurance coverage.

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Malware could trigger a number of different lines of insurance, such as crime ($81 million Bank of Bangladesh heist), kidnap & ransom (Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s $17K bitcoin ransom), property (Stuxnet in Iranian nuclear facility & other grid/manufacturing), general liability (Jeep Cherokee and medical device hacks), professional liability (Internet of Things service interconnectivity) and marine/supply chain (Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines 2011).

Entities should consider malware risks on an enterprise level. It’s not just about IT. All employees, partners, customers and third party outsourced providers should be considered.

Even with top notch defenses, however, how do you defend against something that may be inevitable? Is there anything a business can do to protect against losses from malware? Many malware attacks exploit known bugs in software, and attackers depend on victims not installing patch updates. There are a number of technological and procedural risk management methods to help reduce the financial statement impact from malware, including:

  • Vet software purchases from a security standpoint as well as an operational standpoint.
  • Train employees regarding phishing, mobile apps, attachments, links and the like. Instruct employees not to open email from unknown sources and to verify sources before opening attachments or clicking links in any email, IM, or posts on social networks.
  • Ban workplace usage of unnecessary file types, software applications, websites, and BYOD downloads.
  • Improve detection and remediation of malware incidents.
  • Segregate data by priority classification.

Kalinich chart

 

 

According to the recent book, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War (June 2016):

“The only completely secure computer is a computer that no one can use … They have given up on the idea that they can somehow make a black box that nobody can get into.”

It turns out that incident response is as important as prevention from a balance sheet impact standpoint. Is there a contingency plan or business continuity plan in place? Some suggested actions to take if your computer is infected with malware:

  • Immediately stop using any computers on an infected network that performs sensitive activities.
  • Contact your IT department or a qualified IT professional to analyze your computers and network, and to remove the malware.
  • After you have taken appropriate steps to remove malware, change the passwords for any user accounts or systems that were accessed while using the infected computer.
  • Promptly notify the appropriate insurance carriers.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2017 RIMS

Resilience in Face of Cyber

New cyber model platforms will help insurers better manage aggregation risk within their books of business.
By: | April 26, 2017 • 3 min read

As insurers become increasingly concerned about the aggregation of cyber risk exposures in their portfolios, new tools are being developed to help them better assess and manage those exposures.

 One of those tools, a comprehensive cyber risk modeling application for the insurance and reinsurance markets, was announced on April 24 by AIR Worldwide.

Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist, AIR Worldwide

Last year at RIMS, AIR announced the release of the industry’s first open source deterministic cyber risk scenario, subsequently releasing a series of scenarios throughout the year, and offering the service to insurers on a consulting basis.

Its latest release, ARC– Analytics of Risk from Cyber — continues that work by offering the modeling platform for license to insurance clients for internal use rather than on a consulting basis. ARC is separate from AIR’s Touchstone platform, allowing for more flexibility in the rapidly changing cyber environment.

ARC allows insurers to get a better picture of their exposures across an entire book of business, with the help of a comprehensive industry exposure database that combines data from multiple public and commercial sources.

The recent attacks on Dyn and Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide perfect examples of how the ARC platform can be used to enhance the industry’s resilience, said Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist for AIR Worldwide.

Stransky noted that insurers don’t necessarily have visibility into which of their insureds use Dyn, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, or other common internet services providers.

In the Dyn and AWS events, there was little insured loss because the downtime fell largely just under policy waiting periods.

But,” said Stransky, “it got our clients thinking, well it happened for a few hours – could it happen for longer? And what does that do to us if it does? … This is really where our model can be very helpful.”

The purpose of having this model is to make the world more resilient … that’s really the goal.”Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist, AIR Worldwide

AIR has run the Dyn incident through its model, with the parameters of a single day of downtime impacting the Fortune 1000. Then it did the same with the AWS event.

When we run Fortune 1000 for Dyn for one day, we get a half a billion dollars of loss,” said Stransky. “Taking it one step further – we’ve run the same exercise for AWS for one day, through the Fortune 1000 only, and the losses are about $3 billion.”

So once you expand it out to millions of businesses, the losses would be much higher,” he added.

The ARC platform allows insurers to assess cyber exposures including “silent cyber,” across the spectrum of business, be it D&O, E&O, general liability or property. There are 18 scenarios that can be modeled, with the capability to adjust variables broadly for a better handle on events of varying severity and scope.

Looking ahead, AIR is taking a closer look at what Stransky calls “silent silent cyber,” the complex indirect and difficult to assess or insure potential impacts of any given cyber event.

Stransky cites the 2014 hack of the National Weather Service website as an example. For several days after the hack, no satellite weather imagery was available to be fed into weather models.

Imagine there was a hurricane happening during the time there was no weather service imagery,” he said. “[So] the models wouldn’t have been as accurate; people wouldn’t have had as much advance warning; they wouldn’t have evacuated as quickly or boarded up their homes.”

It’s possible that the losses would be significantly higher in such a scenario, but there would be no way to quantify how much of it could be attributed to the cyber attack and how much was strictly the result of the hurricane itself.

It’s very, very indirect,” said Stransky, citing the recent hack of the Dallas tornado sirens as another example. Not only did the situation jam up the 911 system, potentially exacerbating any number of crisis events, but such a false alarm could lead to increased losses in the future.

The next time if there’s a real tornado, people make think, ‘Oh, its just some hack,’ ” he said. “So if there’s a real tornado, who knows what’s going to happen.”

Modeling for “silent silent cyber” remains elusive. But platforms like ARC are a step in the right direction for ensuring the continued health and strength of the insurance industry in the face of the ever-changing specter of cyber exposure.

Because we have this model, insurers are now able to manage the risks better, to be more resilient against cyber attacks, to really understand their portfolios,” said Stransky. “So when it does happen, they’ll be able to respond, they’ll be able to pay out the claims properly, they’ll be prepared.

The purpose of having this model is to make the world more resilient … that’s really the goal.”

Additional stories from RIMS 2017:

Blockchain Pros and Cons

If barriers to implementation are brought down, blockchain offers potential for financial institutions.

Embrace the Internet of Things

Risk managers can use IoT for data analytics and other risk mitigation needs, but connected devices also offer a multitude of exposures.

Feeling Unprepared to Deal With Risks

Damage to brand and reputation ranked as the top risk concern of risk managers throughout the world.

Reviewing Medical Marijuana Claims

Liberty Mutual appears to be the first carrier to create a workflow process for evaluating medical marijuana expense reimbursement requests.

Cyber Threat Will Get More Difficult

Companies should focus on response, resiliency and recovery when it comes to cyber risks.

RIMS Conference Held in Birthplace of Insurance in US

Carriers continue their vital role of helping insureds mitigate risks and promote safety.

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]