March 24, 2022by Delilah Schwartz

Protecting Profitability for the Cyber Insurance Business with Cyber Threat Intelligence

Cyber insurance is ostensibly intended to cover losses incurred as a result of cyberattacks against policyholders, networks or systems. However, to remain profitable amid unabating breaches and the mounting costs of payable claims, insurers must take a more proactive approach to minimizing their clients’ risk exposure - leveraging cyber threat intelligence to identify and mitigate risk before it can materialize in an attack.

As an insurance provider, you’re supposed to protect your clients against losses in the event of physical or digital damages – but your risks may be greater than theirs. The unfortunate reality is, by nature of the service, you are in possession of troves of personally identifiable data collected from your policy holders - information that, to hackers, is the equivalent of the crown jewels.

The stakes are high for everyone: insurance providers and policy holders alike. This is especially true for cyber insurers in particular. A single attack could disrupt your client’s business and damage its reputation, costing them – and you – exorbitant amounts.

The rapid pace of digital transformation exacerbates these risks even further. Expedited by the pandemic, the whole world has gone digital faster than anticipated, moving data and processes to the cloud to accommodate COVID-19’s drastic effects on how we work, play, shop, and live.

To support work from home, for example, many organizations turned to Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to facilitate corporate network access through personal devices for employees. While a viable solution to support continued business operations from afar, without proper security controls and on-premise safeguards, the use of RDP and other remote access solutions constitute an additional conduit for attack, expanding the organizational attack surface and exposing both employees and businesses to potentially devastating cyber risk.

Cybercriminals, like many predators, hide in the shadows, waiting patiently for signs of vulnerabilities and an opportunity to strike. Unsurprisingly, since the beginning of the pandemic, threat actors have besieged vulnerable organizations with an unabating slew of attacks and breaches, and haven’t let up since. Ransomware attacks alone in 2021 more than doubled since the previous year, increasing by 105% worldwide.

Clearly, companies can no longer suffice with reactive cybersecurity strategies that simply respond and defend against breach attempts as they occur. Cyber insurers, like others dealing with sensitive personal data, must strengthen their cyber risk management programs with proactive threat intelligence data, automation and analytics, to minimize cyber risk exposure before the threats can materialize. With cybercriminals constantly evolving their tactics, techniques and procedures, adopting more sophisticated attack vectors and more advanced technologies, in order to keep pace with them, those on the cyber defensive need to do the same.

Insurance Companies’ Cyber Gaps

Insurance companies pose a lucrative target for cyberattackers. Insurers collect, store and manage vast volumes of sensitive personal and commercial data, used to power the products, policies and prices offered to their consumers. As a result of these reservoirs of confidential policyholder data, insurers are prime targets for cybercriminals who seek this information for their own financial profit through extortion, identity theft, and various other malicious activities - as detailed in this report by Deloitte.

Cyber attacks against insurers tend, for now, to be short term, Deloitte found: attackers get in, take what they need, and move on. But as malicious actors and their tools become more sophisticated, they could begin to burrow into their victims systems, hiding dormant and undetected within their networks, exfiltrating data as it is added.

After successfully breaching their targets’ networks, cybercriminals gain access to vast troves of personal data, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, passwords, and payment card information - exfiltrated to be sold on the deep and dark web and used in future attacks.

The Profitability Problem

With all this danger lurking, it’s no surprise to find that the cyber insurance market is growing by leaps and bounds – from $7.8 billion in 2020 to an expected $20.5 billion by 2025, according to MarketsandMarkets™ Cybersecurity Insurance Market Global Forecast to 2025.

Still, many cyber insurers are currently struggling to remain profitable. Why? Simply put, as the number and severity of breaches rises and extorted ransom payments increase in sum (paid ransom sums jumped 82% from 2020 to 2021, reports Harvard Business Review), cyber insurance claims have increased as well.

To keep the business afloat, many insurance companies have resorted to increasing premium prices, removing certain attack types from policy coverage and reducing the amount payable to claimants.

However, these actions do not truly mitigate the problem. More and more cyber insurers are arriving at the realization that they must take a more active role in minimizing their policyholders’ cyber risk exposure, supporting clients as they seek to strengthen their cyber risk management programs. Your best bet for reducing mounting claims? Using threat intelligence to find and neutralize threats before they have the chance to become attacks.

Mitigate Risks 5 Ways with Threat Intel

Cybersixgill’s automated threat intelligence solutions can provide you and your clients with real-time contextual intelligence from the cybercriminal underground, with comprehensive insight into the nature and source of each imminent threat.

With the most extensive collection of threat intelligence on the market, we proactively empower insurers with the information they need to minimize cyber risk before it can materialize into an attack. Using advanced automated algorithms, we extract, process and analyze millions of intelligence items and thousands of indicators of compromise (IOCs) per day from a vast range of sources from the deep, dark and clear web, including forums, markets, invite-only messaging groups, code repositories and social media sites. These powerful mechanisms collect data from previously inaccessible sources, including high-value sites with complex CAPCHA, posts that have since been deleted, and historical  data from as early as the 1990s. This data is then enriched with machine learning techniques to create profiles and patterns of dark web threat actors and their interactions with peers across platforms, which otherwise remain invisible or inaccessible to enterprises.

With unmatched visibility into the cybercriminal underground, Cybersixgill can help your insurance organization detect threats to your company and clients, equipping you with the insight you need to protect against attacks and minimize risk exposure.

Features include:

1. Automated Cyber Insurance Underwriting

The Challenge: Cyber insurance underwriting involves assessing the client’s exposure to risk and evaluating the efficacy of their risk management program. Done manually, these processes cost much time and money.

The Solution: ​​Automation. Cybersixgill’s automatic collection and reporting can do these routine tasks and more, analyzing vulnerabilities and your client’s digital footprints, mapping their exposure in deep, dark, and clear web, and sounding real-time alerts when compromised assets appear in the cybercriminal underground. Your clients save on valuable resources and reduce their risk of breach – helping you save money too.

2. Data Leakage Prevention

The Challenge: Insurance companies store vast amounts of sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII) coveted by inside and external threat actors.

The Solution: Real-time Intel & Alerts. Cybersixgill’s advanced collection mechanisms continuously monitor your assets across the illicit forums, markets, and instant-messaging groups of the cybercriminal underground, providing real-time alerts of leaked data, credentials, and other sensitive information belonging to the company and its customers and affiliates. Our solutions also warn of imminent attempts on your company, customers, and clients.

3.  Claim Fraud Prevention

The Challenge: Fraudulent insurance claims cost the insurance industry a whopping $30 billion annually.

The Solution: Contextual Visibility into the Underground. Powered by our extensive risk intelligence data collection and advanced ML capabilities, Cybersixgill automates counter-fraud measures to rapidly detect money laundering, false insurance claims and financial fraud using detailed forensic evidence and root-cause analysis.

4. Cyber Exposure and Incident Claim Prevention

The Challenge: To remain profitable amid increasing claims, cyber insurers must help clients minimize their risk of cyberattack.

The Solution: Proactive Threat Intel. Cybersixgill’s proactive threat intelligence solutions provide unparalleled visibility into the cybercriminal underground, with early warning of emerging threats based on actor intent. You will be able to identify and mitigate your clients’ risks before they happen.

5.  Legal and Regulatory Compliance

The Challenge: Tight-roping the balance between operational readiness and regulatory compliance is no easy feat, as lawmakers demand more accountability and make cybersecurity a priority.

The Solution: Proof of Compliance. Cybersixgill’s advanced cyber threat intelligence solutions accelerate the audit and assessment process, providing proof of security controls enforcement and demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements. And Cybersixgill’s CTI lets you prioritize security gaps, enhancing cyber risk management and the organization’s risk posture.

Want to learn more about Cybersixgill for cyber insurers, and how we can help you and your policyholders minimize risks in real time? Contact us to speak to one of our threat intelligence specialists.

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