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Insurance companies must lead fight against cyber crime

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Mr George Kojo Addison (inset) speaking at the conference. MAIN PICTURE: Some participants in the conference
Mr George Kojo Addison (inset) speaking at the conference. MAIN PICTURE: Some participants in the conference

Principals in the insurance industry have resolved to put in place reliable mechanisms to prevent cyber security attacks that are putting businesses at increasing risk.

This was made known at the maiden  Information Technology Conference of the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA) in Accra which brought together representatives in Ghana’s insurance industry to deliberate on the steps needed to protect insurance companies from cybercrime.

The conference was on the theme: “Emerging trend domain and the impact of cyber security threats on the insurance industry.”

The participants were drawn from the non-life insurance sector, insurance brokerage and re-insurance service firms and discussed how cyber security breaches were gaining notoriety in Ghana and the rest of the world.

Advice

A cyber analyst with E-crime Bureau, Mr Philemon Hini, said insurance companies could lead the fight against cybercrime by prioritising investments in information technology solutions.

He also urged insurers to invest in their own cyber security, saying “companies that cannot protect themselves cannot expect customers to trust them for protection.”

Due to the digital revolution, he said, a company’s data was increasingly inter-twined with that of others “and this means that we are becoming increasingly vulnerable to a wide range of cyber criminality.”

Mr Hini said cyber criminality was complex because it was not only difficult to recognise and combat, but it was also difficult to determine its potential damage.

Statistics



The Convener of the IT Technical Committee, Mr George Kojo Addison, said the insurance sector faced cyber risk from both internal and external sources as trends showed huge increases in hacked and breached data.

Citing a 2014 Price waterhousecoopers (PwC) annual global information on security survey of 9,700 corporate executives, Mr Addison said in 2013 almost 43 million cyber security incidents were detected.

The figure, he said, translated into 100,000 attacks per day and marked a 48 per cent increase over incidences in the previous year.

“The number of unreported or undetected cyber security incidents is likely far higher,” he added.

He said a report by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors issued in August, 2016, estimated that in monetary terms cybercrime cost the global economy more than $400 billion every year.

The reports, he said, also predicted total losses of between $424.3 billion and 41 trillion, with insured losses of between $421.4 billion and $71.1 billion, depending on the severity of the crime.

The Director of the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Ghana Police Service, Dr Gustav Yankson, said money lost to cyber fraudsters in Ghana increased from $35 million in 2016 to $69 million in 2017 and $105 million in 2018.

For his part, the Managing Director of SIC Insurance Company Limited, Mr Stephen Oduro, reiterated the need for insurance companies to protect their data against fraud and stressed that “Investing in IT should not be an afterthought.”