#CyberFLASH: Why hackers target Canadian insurance companies

Canada cyber security news

Thirty-nine per cent of C-suite executives in Canada actually think they will be the target of a cyber attack

Insurance companies are generally more vulnerable to malicious e-mails than banks, while a slight majority of computer security staff members surveyed do not fully disclose information technology vulnerabilities even to executives at their own firms, an IT security expert suggested Wednesday.

Kevvie Fowler, partner, advisory services at KPMG Canada, said in a presentation that insurance companies face different threats than banks, even though both industries provide financial services.

“In insurance, over 4% of email that you receive … contain malicious links,” he said, citing research conducted by security software vendor Proofpoint Inc.

“In contrast, if you look at technology companies, it is just over 1%. There is actually a greater number of threats that you are faced with in your inbox in contrast to people just like yourselves in other industries.”

Fowler, who has worked in cyber security for 17 years, made his comments during a luncheon presentation held by the Property Casualty Underwriters Club.

He added banks do “a better job of filtering these threats upstream, so they aren’t making it to the end users’ mailbox.”

Cyber attacks, he said, can be grouped to four categories of “bad actors.” The broad categories are petty criminals, “hacktivists” or terrorists, organized criminals and state-sponsored attackers.

“Bad guys know banks spend a lot of money on security,” he said. “They will focus on an industry that hasn’t made those security investments.”

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