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Cyber Liability Insurance - A Web Designers Perspective

by Brian Rideout • May 06, 2016

If you've got a company website (and what company doesn't have one?) or even simply connect to the Internet from work (again, who doesn't) you are at risk from hackers and cyber intrusions from around the world. Let me outline a couple of scenarios of how you are at risk.
Computers & the Internet add Cyber Risks to your business...

Website Hacks

Getting your website hacked usually take one of three forms.

#1 - Website defacement where the content of your website is altered. Sometimes subtly, sometimes very in your face obvious. When it's subtle the hackers are often inserting links to other websites. Sometimes this is done to affect the search ranking results of the website being linked to. Sometimes positively, sometimes negatively depending on the hackers desired outcome. Often these links will lead to questionable sites selling drugs, pornography or other illicit material. When the defacements are ugly and public it's generally a group wanting to spread the word about their ideals or promote their message. Think ISIS or Anonymous types that turn your website into a billboard for their message.

#2 - Insertion of malware onto your website is another common attack scenario. Again, usually subtle, site visitors loading your website may be subjected to malware being loaded onto their computer where the hackers then gain access to their computer. Those hijacked computers are then used to send spam or cause DOS (Denial of Service) attacks against other websites.

#3 - Theft. If your website stores information of any kind such as e-mail addresses, passwords, credit card data, social security numbers or medical data you are a prime target for cyber theft. Hackers steal the information from your website and either use it directly or sell it to others who will use that information for identity theft, credit card fraud and other nefarious activities.

While my firm, BANG! Web Site Design has had a couple of mild cases of defacement over the years we've been fortunate to stay secure and avoid malware and cyber theft attempts. We did recently take on a new client and before we could get their new website live their old website was hacked and credit card information was stolen from the site. This was a nightmare for the business as they then needed to notify the victims. In some cases they would be on the hook for providing credit card monitoring and identity theft protection for these customers who were put at risk by poor data storage practices performed by the former Web developers. This is a perfect example of where a cyber liability insurance policy would step in and cover a business owners cost to report and provide identity theft protection for their customers.

Viruses, Spyware, Malware, & Ransomware

Just connecting to the Internet puts your company at risk. Check your e-mail and download an attachment disguised as an invoice and the next thing you know you are a victim of ransomware as your computer, and potentially other computers in your network are suddenly encrypted and all the data on them is useless to you. This scenario has happened very publicly to two hospitals recently and federal agencies are often targeted in such attacks. Again, cyber liability insurance can step in and compensate you from this loss of having to recreate data and restore records.

These are just two common scenarios of why you want to have cyber liability insurance for your business.

About the Author

Brian Rideout is the Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design. With 25 years of IT experience and 20 years running a website design, development and hosting company he's got lots of great and a few terrifying experiences when it comes to the risks of being on-line and conducting business on the Internet. For more information on website design, development and Internet Marketing you can read Brian's blog. To subscribe to the BANG! Monthly E-newsletter, visit this page.