Don’t Underestimate The Insider Threat

Insider Threat

The Insider Threat has now become an even more significant risk to businesses following the dismissal against the High Courts decision that Morrisons was vicariously liable for an employees misuse of data. This is despite the fact that Morrisons were deemed to have carried out as much as they could reasonably been expected to do to protect their employees data.

The case Wm Morrisons Supermarkets v Various Claimants (2018) now states that businesses can be vicariously liable for the actions of a rogue employee.

With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) earlier this year the awareness of data protection by the public has increased which is likely to lead to litigation being bought against businesses in effort to seek remedies for a lack of protection of their personal data.

Background to the case

A security breach occurred when a senior internal auditor leaked payroll data of 100,000 employees. Of this 5,518 former and current employees claimed that this incident exposed them to the risk of identity theft and possible financial loss with Morrison’s being responsible for breaches of privacy.

The Class Action Threat 

The Morrisons case is also an example of a class action where it is not only one individual making a claim but a series of claimants , claims of this nature can be significant and impact severely on the well being of a business. The insider threat has therefore increased and it is likely that businesses will need to re focus their efforts in ensuring that they have procedures in place to help counteract such threats.

Emotional Distress

Under GDPR it is now to bring claims for non -material damage i.e. emotional distress caused as a result of a compromise of an individuals personal data.

Why can business do to monitor employees behavior?

Limit computer admin rights within the business

Monitor abnormally high transfers of data by employees within the business

Ensure CV’s of new employees are what they say they are

Make sure data mapping is in accordance with GDPR ensuring that the business knows where their data is located.

Robust training of employees and expectations made clear of how they manage data.

Ensure highly sensitive data is held in respositories

The Insider Threat is intrinsically linked to the human factors that impact upon cyber security please see our blog on this.

Cyber insurance is also a very valuable asset to have in that it provides insurance protection and offers an incident response service so that businesses can effectively manage a data breach.


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The Holiday Cyber Risk Landscape


The holiday season is now in full swing where people travel to far off destinations to enjoy a well earned break and to spend time with their families. Unfortutely the cyber threat remains with us …… and arguably is increased as people’s guard is somewhat down due to the relaxed environment that being on holiday promotes.

A survey carried out by Keeper Security Inc last year showed that the US posed to the greatest threat to holiday makers from hackers, however more worryingly the UK came in a second place with France, Spain and Italy also featuring in the top ten.

Some of the cyber threats that exist to indivuals and businesses are as follows :-

Insecure Wi-Fi Networks

A hotel wi-if network may be vulnerable if not secured with the latest security encryption software. This could also be said of restaurants or cafes. Attacks know as “Man in the Middle” where a third party is listening and changing information pretending to both the user and the application can intercept highly sensitive data and use this to compromise a users details.

GCHQ regularly warn travellers of the threats posed by insecure wi-fi networks and the holidayseason is when these threats become more prevalent. It is therefore important to check that the wi-if has the appropriate safety protocols in place in particularly when money is being transacted.

Holiday Scam E-mails 

It is conceivable that an individual could fall foul of a hacker before they leave their house .Holiday scam e-mails may portray a bogus website that offers a holiday deal which is too good to be true and the likelihood is that this could well be the case. Funds could be stolen by an on-line transaction with debit or credit card details also being compromised by a hacker.

Being Aware

Leaving a laptop or smart phone on your beach towel of on a cafe table opens opportunity for a speculative hacker to steal an electronic device and use data themselves or to post on the dark web to be sold at a later date.

Keeping a tight ship

The same principle applies to businesses during the holiday season who may not have their usual numbers in their cyber security team which creates an environment where threats could be missed or not acted upon as quickly as normal. A greater reliance therefore is imposed on everyday users to carry out good cyber hygiene in their everyday work schedule. Watching out for phishing e-mails and dubious website links which could lead for example to an incident of fraud or a ransom ware attack.

Back Home

Once back home it is good housekeeping to to check matters such as bank statements to ensure that no fraudulent transactions have taken place and that you can account for everything spent.

At work looking for any unusual e-mail activity or change in the functionality of your computer in case a virus may have downloaded itself whilst you were away.

Wherever you are on holiday cyber threats exist in many forms , hackers do not go on holiday so it is vitally important that you maintain the same cyber security posture.

Hackers Raise Cyber Risk Awareness in 2017

Mergers and Acquisitions

Hackers raise Cyber Risk awareness in 2017….. this is the one upside where Hackers have again grabbed the headlines with many high profile cyber attacks taking place resulting in cyber crime and data breaches. These are proving to shape the world of cyberspace and how cyber risk will be managed in the future.

What have been the high profile cyber security breaches this year ? 

Ransomware feature highly as the main attack vector utilized by hackers and proved to be the most effective in terms of impact and the disruption that was caused to businesses.


This was one of the main strains of ransomware that hit over 150 businesses throughout the world in May this year. This compromised the NHS and car manufacturing plants  such as Nissan  and Renault in the UK and the global corporations of  Telefonica and FedEX.


This was the second significant ransomware attack within the space of two months and should have heighten businesses concerns that cyber risk was now a boardroom issue after the WannaCry attack.  Not-Petya took place in late June again reaching out to hit high profile global corporations that included Merck, WPP and AP Moller-Maersk having longer lasting consequences on their trading ability and reputations.


The US credit reporting agency revealed in September that they suffered a data breach which compromised the accounts of 143 million US customers, it is believed that a certain percentage of these were also UK citizens.


It was announced by Uber last month that they were hit by a data breach which affected 57 million users by an attack that occurred 12 months earlier. A ransom of $100,000 was also paid to the hackers.


Whilst this breach was not new it does have potential far reaching consequences for the directors of a business. It was found by the High Court that those affected by a data breach which was caused by an employee, were allowed to claim compensation for the ” upset and distress” caused.

What happened in the UK ?

Whilst hackers infiltrated many businesses worldwide, in the UK we also saw businesses and organisations being hit demonstrating that cyber attacks are closer to home that many people may believe, here are a few examples :-

Sports Direct revealed in February that they had been hit by a data breach where a hacker had gained access to their 30,000 employees personal details which included names , addresses and e-mail details.

Wonga announced in April that 245,000 of its customers in the UK had been affected by a data breach, personal details this time included bank account details.

RingGo, the parking payment app was subject to a data breach in April whereby 2,000 customers were affected

Hotpoint UK had their website compromised in May when malware was discovered on their computer system luckily no data was taken on this ocassion.

Cardiff City Centre suffered the embarassment of their computer system being compromised in August with a Swastika being posted on a shopping billboard.

The Scottish Parliament suffered a brute force attack in August where hackers targeted the e-mail accounts of MP’s in an attempt to obtain passwords

Lessons to be learned …..

Cyber crime and data breaches will not go away and will continue to be a prominent threat to busineesss

This is a major issue for businesses so much that it is now on boardroom agendas

Cyber risk needs to be managed at all levels of a business

Cyber attacks can happen to any business , SME’s are faced with the same vulnerabilties as larger organzations

Cyber risk needs to be embedded into a business’s risk management procedures and processes.

Inadequate cyber risk management will impact of the reputation of a business.

2018 will be a testing time for many business sectors with the volatility of the economy, unstable governments and Brexit to name a few but cyber risk should also sit alongside these challenges as the impact of failure to address this is likely to be just as influential.

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The Good,The Bad and the Dark Web

The Dark Web

So what is the Dark Web?

We have all heard of the dark web but it is unlikely that we actually know what it is…..

The Dark Web is part of the world wide web and requires specific software in order for it to be accessed, once this is in place its websites and other services can be readily accessed. Not all sites are visible and can be hidden because they have not been indexed by a search engine and can only be accessed if the precise address of the website is known.

The dark web sits below the “Surface Web” i.e.Google and Yahoo and the “Deep Web” which includes scientific and government reports and subscription-only information.

Certain markets operate within the dark web and are known as “darkest markets”which tend to sell illegal goods such as drugs and firearms, the currency of which is bitcoin where it is difficult to trace the source of the recepient.

Individuals and groups can seek total anonymity as these are generally groups who wish to stay hidden on line from the police and governments.

Let’s go Dark….

This is possible by downloading software such as Tor known as the “Onion Router” where users can be idenitified by the domain name “onion” and focus in providing anonymous access for users. Whilst 12P  the “Invisible Internet Project” permits the anonymous hosting of websites. It is not possible to identify the IP address and track dark net users due to the layered encryption systems that are in place. Intermediate servers are also used which helps in making identification impossible.

The Dark Side 

Hackers exist here to sell their services offering services such as :-

  • Tools for DDoS attacks
  • Fraud services
  • Phishing of websites
  • Scams
  • The recruitment of hackers

The Impact on Cyber Insurance 

The insurance industry focuses on loss prevention and it is important therefore that they are alive to new and developing threats which can in the first instance be discovered on the dark web.

Stolen data can appear in the dark web which can include for example names , addresses, credit card and bank account details rails  and medical records, these will be for sale from various sources.

An innovative step by CFC Underwriting Limited has been launched with RepKnight whereby they offer a dark web monitoring tool called BreachAltert for its policyholders that provides alerts in real time should their data become exposed on the dark web. This can be configured for e-mail domains server IP addresses, employee login credentials and lists of clients and employees. This will enable policyholders to be the first to know if their information has been leaked.

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The Cyber Threat to Critical Infrastructure

Cyber Threat

The operation of Critical Infrastructure in the UK is pivotable in the safety and economic prosperity of the country…. but what protection is being provided to mitigate the cyber threat posed by hackers ?

We are seeing increasing threats to key infrastructure such as airports and power stations with the cyber threat now emerging as a very real risk. This concern is also now at the forefront of governments on both sides of the Atlantic with initiatives being put in place to protect our critical infrastructure.

Europe – The Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive 

The European Commission agreed to implement the Network and Information Services Directive in late 2015 as reported in our post   

This Directive needs to be complied with by May 2018 however according to a report by Corero Network Security suggests that it may prove difficult for certain sectors of the UK’s critical infrastructure to achieve this. The report found that 39% of the critical infrastructure in the UK did not reach basic cyber security standards. Key sectors were the NHS and the police.

The main reason for the Directive is to increase the security of Network and Information Systems within the European Union with the aim to bring the following:-

  •  Minimum standards of cybersecurity for banks, energy, transport , health and water utilities.
  •  EU-wide rules on cybersecurity.
  •  Cooperation between EU companies on cyber security
  •  The sharing of information of breaches
  •  Best practices in cyber security
  •  Mutual help in securing a country’s critical infrastructure

In addition to critical infrastructure these regulations will apply to certain technology firms and it is possible that this will also be applicable to major online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon, and search engines such as Google.

Last month the Government launched a consultation paper which sets out the proposed implementation in the UK which will also reflect the UK departure from the EU. The consultation will ascertain the views from industry, regulators and other relevant parties

The consultation will cover the following :-

  • The essential services the directive needs to cover
  • The possible penalties that could be applied
  • The authorities that will regulate and audit specific sectors
  • The security measures that will be imposed
  • Appropriate timelines for incident reporting
  • Assessment of the impact on Digital Services Providers

USA – Homeland Security – The Presidential Policy Directive /PPD-21

The main purpose of this directive is to provide the provision of strategic guidance and to promote the security and resilience of the US’s critical infrastructure.

Within this directive Homeland Security will support the following:-

  • Identify and prioritize critical infrastructure, considering physical and cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Maintenance  of national critical infrastructure centers in order to provide a situational awareness capabilities  about emerging trends and imminent threats
  • The coordination of appropriate bodies and Federal departments to provide analysis, expertise, and other technical assistance to critical infrastructure businesses
  • Facilitate the exchange of information and intelligence necessary
  • Work to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure against cyber threats
  • Annual review of the protection required by statute to protect national critical infrastructure.

The critical infrastructure of a country’s is a prime target for hackers and it is therefore essential that appropriate cyber security standards are in place and that this continues to keep place with the changing cyber threat landscape.

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