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The Insurance Industry’s View of 2023: The Year of Complex Cybersecurity Threats

In the dynamic digital era, the cybersecurity landscape has witnessed a seismic shift, especially in the wake of events like the COVID-19 pandemic and growing geopolitical unrest. The complexity and frequency of cybercrimes have surged, posing unprecedented challenges for businesses worldwide. Experts anticipate cybercrime costs to skyrocket to $10.5 trillion by 2025, a staggering increase from $3 trillion in 2015.

Top Cybersecurity Threats of 2023

  1. Social Engineering: These attacks, exploiting human error rather than technical flaws, remain alarmingly effective. Verizon’s report highlights that 85% of breaches involve human interaction, with phishing being a predominant method.
  2. Third-Party Exposure: Cybercriminals often bypass direct security systems by attacking less secure third-party networks. The infamous 2021 breach of over 214 million personal records from Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn via a third-party contractor is a case in point.
  3. Configuration Errors: Misconfigurations in security systems are common vulnerabilities. Rapid7’s study shows that 80% of external penetration tests revealed exploitable misconfigurations, a figure that rises to 96% for internal system access scenarios.
  4. Poor Cyber Hygiene: Lax cyber practices, like weak password management and ignoring two-factor authentication, significantly increase security risks, especially with the rise of remote work.
  5. Cloud Security Challenges: Despite advancements, cloud vulnerabilities have surged by 150% over the past five years, with web app breaches being a primary culprit, as per IBM and Verizon’s findings.
  6. Mobile Device Threats: The pandemic’s push towards mobile device usage has opened new avenues for cybercriminals. Check Point Software reports that 46% of companies experienced security incidents from malicious mobile apps in 2021.
  7. Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities: The proliferation of smart devices in homes has made IoT a prime target for cyberattacks, with an estimated 1.5 billion breaches in the first half of 2021 alone.
  8. Ransomware Escalation: The severity and cost of ransomware attacks have escalated, with average ransom demands soaring from $5,000 in 2018 to $200,000 in 2020. The aftermath of these attacks often includes significant revenue loss and leadership changes in affected companies.
  9. Inefficient Data Management: The abundance of unused or unanalyzed data creates confusion and vulnerabilities. Cases like Aetna’s $17 million penalty for a data handling mistake in 2018 underscore the costliness of such errors.
  10. Inadequate Post-Attack Responses: Many organizations fail to apply available patches promptly after an attack, leading to repeated breaches. The emerging trend of Patching-as-a-Service aims to automate and streamline this crucial process.


Navigating the Threats

Addressing these cybersecurity challenges requires a multifaceted approach. While robust cybersecurity systems are essential, they cannot guarantee absolute protection. Hence, supplementing technical defenses with comprehensive insurance is prudent to mitigate potential damages from successful attacks.

As cyber threats evolve and intensify in 2024, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity measures, stay vigilant about emerging threats, and ensure they have a safety net in place to withstand potential breaches.


Steve King

Managing Director, CyberEd

King, an experienced cybersecurity professional, has served in senior leadership roles in technology development for the past 20 years. He has founded nine startups, including Endymion Systems and seeCommerce. He has held leadership roles in marketing and product development, operating as CEO, CTO and CISO for several startups, including Netswitch Technology Management. He also served as CIO for Memorex and was the co-founder of the Cambridge Systems Group.