Canadian Underwriter

Heebie-jeebies for the digital age

October 25, 2017   by Greg Dalgetty

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We’ve all had our fair share of unsettling experiences, and there’s no better time to talk about them than Halloween, which is just a few days away.

You know what’s creepy? Logging in to your email and finding mysterious messages of unknown origin that contain your password in the subject line. That’s what happened to me some months ago and—let me assure you—it’s rather alarming.

Now, this was my personal email account, which happened to be a Yahoo account. Needless to say, that account is now defunct, and my passwords for everything have since been changed. If there had been any doubt in my mind that I was among those affected by Yahoo’s massive data breach, it was put to rest on Oct. 4, when we found out all 3 billion of Yahoo’s user accounts were impacted. So yes, I suppose that would include my account too.

But, like I said, that was creepy—I wouldn’t call it outright scary. If you want to see something scary, look at the Equifax breach.

As I write this, I’m still trying to figure out if I’m one of the 8,000 Canadians who was affected by the breach. What’s really scary about this isn’t necessarily the scope of the breach—although there’s that too, with an estimated 145.5 million Americans impacted—but the nature of the data that may have been compromised.

Names. Addresses. Social insurance numbers. Credit card numbers. You know—the kind of information you generally don’t want strangers who may have odious motives to possess. And, of all the organizations that could’ve experienced such a breach, of course it had to be Equifax—a credit reporting agency.

Scary stuff, ain’t it? On the bright side, it’s a great time to be alive if you’re looking to get in on a class action lawsuit. Those are cropping up everywhere. And, as you’ll discover in our coverage of this year’s RIMS Canada Conference, these lawsuits may serve to underscore the importance of cyber insurance.

Hot on the heels of this latest cyber crisis, we’ve got some great cyber-risk coverage this issue that touches both large and small businesses.

Cyber attacks aren’t anything new, and large corporations are no doubt aware of the risks—of not only losing data, but their reputations in the process. But are they buying cyber insurance? And what about small businesses? They may not have much of a budget for cyber insurance, but they may also be easy targets. Not to mention they could be sitting on a gold mine of valuable data if they accept payments that aren’t made in cash.

Will Equifax be the breach that convinces holdouts they need cyber coverage? Time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy our latest issue—and Happy Halloween.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the October 2017 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.