Industry review


Helping insurers tackle the cyber threats facing their industry

The global insurance industry, worth close to $1 trillion annually, has now become a prime target for cyber attack.

The sheer volume of valuable data created, gathered and stored by insurers presents a number of unique challenges for the sector. From a technical aspect, insurers are under continual pressure to modernize their data systems, facing the conundrum of keeping critical data highly secure yet also instantly available for review and processing.

Not only do insurers possess this treasure trove of sensitive personal information, second only to government, but also increasingly rely on integrated information systems, providing multiple pathways for attack.

The insurance industry his also carrying additional regulatory burdens placed on it as a result of the Global Financial Crisis, meaning increased overheads and squeezed margins, causing a knock-on effect of decreased investment in key technologies.

The Cyber Threat

In recent years, the insurance industry has been targeted by threat actors, both internal and external, including disaffected employees, organized crime and nation states. Usually the motive is financial gain but may also be to damage reputation and confidence, or to gather client information to allow identity theft and fraud.

The rules are stacked in the attacker’s favor: they don’t have to spend much and be lucky just once to achieve their ends, whereas the industry has to spend much more and be constantly on guard to stay ahead.

The consequences of failure can be devastating: In early 2015, an attacker successfully gained access to the corporate files of the USA’s second largest healthcare provider, Anthem Inc., stealing up to 80 million customer and employee records – a blow from which the company is still recovering.

Anthem was not the first and won’t be the last data breach because time and time again, traditional cyber security measures have been found wanting on these high profile breaches. Fortunately MWR is confident that forward-thinking organizations can build on the effective parts of their cyber security programmes with practical solutions in order to stay one step ahead. The response must be based on an up-to-date threat picture alongside a flexible and dynamic risk management strategy.

Move forward with MWR

MWR has been working with insurers over many years, building up deep understanding of the industry’s technology needs, strategic business issues and the specific threats it faces. The actions you take as a business to protect you from the threats you face should flow from your overall cyber security strategy, something that we can use our unique experience to ensure is fully aligned to your business risk appetite and threat profile. 

Our research-driven approach helps us truly to understand the methodologies of the threat actors targeting the insurance industry. After all, understanding the threat forms the basis for effective counters, meeting each specific threat with a targeted defense. Effective cyber security strategies within the sector include the following key components:

  • Implement Effective Controls

By taking a threat-based approach, MWR can help you build a realistic view of your security posture, adopting programmes that are highly effective in practice.

An example of this is Attack Path Mapping, a unique solution that uses real-world attack methods to determine the risk to your most critical assets, providing your organisation with actionable intelligence that can be used to mitigate risks.

  • Improve resilience to APT

Experience has taught us that if your business can resist targeted cyber attacks from advanced nation states, it can resist cyber attacks from almost all threat actors.

With strategic solutions such as Targeted Attack Simulations and Countercept, delivered by consultants that truly understand the mind of an attacker, banking organizations can be safe in the knowledge they are using the most advanced defenses to resist the most advanced attackers.

Alongside services such as this, we can also author or review your overall cyber security strategy, using our unique experience to ensure it is fully aligned to your business risk appetite and threat profile.

Taking steps to secure your customer and financial data will protect your brand reputation and profitability, so it makes sense to work with an independent security organisation you can trust.

These are just a number of solutions offered by MWR to help insurers overcome the security challenges they are facing.

Please visit our Practice pages for a more comprehensive view of our capabilities.



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