By Ara Trembly
Like most devoted sports fanatics (thats where we get the word “fan” from), I tend to find joy in anything that boosts the fortunes, or likely fortunes, of my favorite teams.
For example, if, say, future-Hall-of-Fame pitcher Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves were to be out for the season with an injury, that would give me–a fan of the hapless New York Mets–cause for hope in the race to win the National League East.
(OK, sports fans, I know my team has been abysmal, but baseball loyalty knows no logic, so dont expect to find that here.)
Of course, no true sports fan wishes such an injury on an opposing player, but when it happens to someone whos a particular nemesis to our club, we sometimes cant help but chuckle a little (heh, heh).
The same holds true with cyber risk insurance, which is generally designed to protect companies against the consequences of hacking, viruses and other types of computer-related threats.
Certainly, insurers dont wish that companies would have their computer systems hacked into or that any losses would be sustained. Yet it must be difficult for carriers who sell cyber risk insurance not to at least crack a smile when a hacking incident–especially a high-profile event–takes place.
After all, such incidents make the case for cyber risk insurance, especially where the victims have no applicable coverage. Each time the media report a security breach that results in loss of money, time or prestige, cyber risk insurers must be silently saying, “See? I told you so.” More importantly, such reports are making potential cyber attack victims sit up and take notice.
Given the obvious increase in reportage of these incidents, is it any wonder that Zurich North America reports that in 2002 it doubled the number of e-risk policies it wrote in 2001? And, as cyber crime continues to increase, would it surprise anyone to know that a cyber risk insurer somewhere is doing a happy, silent little finger dance on the calculator he uses to forecast sales of these policies?
Of course, we could write all this off to the normal ebb and flow of business, except for one disturbing factor. What were talking about here is the building of profits based on criminal behavior in society at large. Ironically, activities such as hacking are creating a booming industry for security vendors and purveyors of cyber risk insurance alike.
Is hacking really that bad in the world of criminal activity? The answer depends on your point of view.
According to Computerworld, organized hacking syndicates are targeting financial institutions around the world, and some of those institutions are willing to pay these criminals “hush money” in order to protect their reputations.
In a real sense, such extortion may become the “organized crime” of the 21st Century. When we consider the “soldiers” of this “mob,” were probably not talking about some footloose teenagers with too much computer knowledge and too much time on their hands.