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City of Stratford's Ransomware Attack a Stark Reminder of Cyber Threats to Your Business

Posted in Commercial Insurance Tips, Cyber Insurance

City of Stratford's Ransomware Attack a Stark Reminder of Cyber Threats to Your Business

The recent ransomware attack on the City of Stratford demonstrates our vulnerability to ever-evolving cyber threats. Do you know how your business is protected from disruptions to your software, data, and business operations?


Cyber Threats Come in All Shapes and Sizes

On Sunday, April 14th 2019, The City of Stratford experienced a breach of its computer system by a malicious virus. The virus prevented city officials from accessing its data.

According to the City’s Information Technology (IT) staff, there has been no evidence found of data theft or transfer, but it has been deemed a ransomware attack. The municipality suffered from interrupted business operations and negative media exposure. According to experts, cyberattackers will target municipalities because of the quantities of data that they have access to. 

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What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware (software designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system) in which software code effectively holds a user's computer hostage until a ‘ransom’ fee is paid. Ransomware often infiltrates a personal computer as a computer worm that takes advantage of open security vulnerabilities. Upon compromising a computer, ransomware will typically either lock a user's system or encrypt files on the computer and then demand payment before the system or files will be restored.

What Kinds of Cyber Security Safeguards Does a Business Need?

The answer to this question depends on the type of business and the specifics of its data and files. All businesses capture personal client information, but some will have more complex needs than others.

The basics include protecting your Internet of Things and training your staff to identify phishing scams and properly disposing of customer information. Some ways to protect your business include:

  • Comprehensive anti-virus and malware protection
  • Encrypting your computers and phones
  • Customized cyber insurance policy
  • Build an Incidence Response Plan, keep it updated and have it vetted by a lawyer

Businesses most targeted by hackers are ones that collect significant amounts of personal data on their customers. Cyber hacks are becoming more common and harder to detect. Cyber criminals will send you emails that have viruses hidden in very real-looking links. These emails tend to increase around the holidays, as people are traveling and making purchases more often.

For many businesses, it’s a good idea to talk to a cyber security expert. The issues are complex, and so are the solutions. That's where the experts can help to make recommendations for your protection. Take advantage of cybersecurity professionals who can identify sources of intrusion, assess the extent of the breach and provide details of the compromised material.

Yes, Cyber Security is Important for Any Size Business

With the recent changes to the privacy laws in Canada, it is every business’ duty to ensure that the data they collect is protected. In addition to the legal requirements, there is also the liability issues that can be devastating if there is a breach. Is your business equipped to notify those affected by a breach, enlist the expertise of a lawyer and possibly experience loss of business?

Without the right cyber insurance coverage, these expenses are your responsibility. It can be difficult for a business of any size to handle these expenses expectantly, let alone a small or medium sized business. As your trusted insurance advisor, your broker will be able to help you understand your coverage options for your unique business.

Does Your Business Policy Include Cyber Insurance?

If you don't know the answer to this question, it's a good idea to speak to your commercial insurance broker sooner than later. As your trusted insurance advisor, your broker will be able to help you navigate this complex landscape and understand your business obligations under the recent changes to Canada's federal private sector privacy law.

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