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.

Advertisement




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

4 Companies That Rocked It by Treating Injured Workers as Equals; Not Adversaries

The 2018 Teddy Award winners built their programs around people, not claims, and offer proof that a worker-centric approach is a smarter way to operate.
By: | October 30, 2018 • 3 min read

Across the workers’ compensation industry, the concept of a worker advocacy model has been around for a while, but has only seen notable adoption in recent years.

Even among those not adopting a formal advocacy approach, mindsets are shifting. Formerly claims-centric programs are becoming worker-centric and it’s a win all around: better outcomes; greater productivity; safer, healthier employees and a stronger bottom line.

Advertisement




That’s what you’ll see in this month’s issue of Risk & Insurance® when you read the profiles of the four recipients of the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Workers’ Compensation and Disability Management Award, sponsored by PMA Companies. These four programs put workers front and center in everything they do.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top,” said Steve Legg, director of risk management for Starbucks.

Starbucks put claims reporting in the hands of its partners, an exemplary act of trust. The coffee company also put itself in workers’ shoes to identify and remove points of friction.

That led to a call center run by Starbucks’ TPA and a dedicated telephonic case management team so that partners can speak to a live person without the frustration of ‘phone tag’ and unanswered questions.

“We were focused on building up a program with an eye on our partner experience. Cost was at the bottom of the list. Doing a better job by our partners was at the top.” — Steve Legg, director of risk management, Starbucks

Starbucks also implemented direct deposit for lost-time pay, eliminating stressful wait times for injured partners, and allowing them to focus on healing.

For Starbucks, as for all of the 2018 Teddy Award winners, the approach is netting measurable results. With higher partner satisfaction, it has seen a 50 percent decrease in litigation.

Teddy winner Main Line Health (MLH) adopted worker advocacy in a way that goes far beyond claims.

Employees who identify and report safety hazards can take credit for their actions by sending out a formal “Employee Safety Message” to nearly 11,000 mailboxes across the organization.

“The recognition is pretty cool,” said Steve Besack, system director, claims management and workers’ compensation for the health system.

MLH also takes a non-adversarial approach to workers with repeat injuries, seeing them as a resource for identifying areas of improvement.

“When you look at ‘repeat offenders’ in an unconventional way, they’re a great asset to the program, not a liability,” said Mike Miller, manager, workers’ compensation and employee safety for MLH.

Teddy winner Monmouth County, N.J. utilizes high-tech motion capture technology to reduce the chance of placing new hires in jobs that are likely to hurt them.

Monmouth County also adopted numerous wellness initiatives that help workers manage their weight and improve their wellbeing overall.

“You should see the looks on their faces when their cholesterol is down, they’ve lost weight and their blood sugar is better. We’ve had people lose 30 and 40 pounds,” said William McGuane, the county’s manager of benefits and workers’ compensation.

Advertisement




Do these sound like minor program elements? The math says otherwise: Claims severity has plunged from $5.5 million in 2009 to $1.3 million in 2017.

At the University of Pennsylvania, putting workers first means getting out from behind the desk and finding out what each one of them is tasked with, day in, day out — and looking for ways to make each of those tasks safer.

Regular observations across the sprawling campus have resulted in a phenomenal number of process and equipment changes that seem simple on their own, but in combination have created a substantially safer, healthier campus and improved employee morale.

UPenn’s workers’ comp costs, in the seven-digit figures in 2009, have been virtually cut in half.

Risk & Insurance® is proud to honor the work of these four organizations. We hope their stories inspire other organizations to be true partners with the employees they depend on. &

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