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Cybercrimes have escalated during COVID-19 pandemic

Considering the increasing incidence of cybercrimes, companies must know their risk profiles, prioritize cyber hygiene, and identify the appropriate insurance solutions for their type of company, but above all, start as soon as possible.

Those were some of the recommendations offered by Brian J. Schnese who, prior to becoming a risk consultant for Hub International, served as a special agent with the FBI, during the Cyber Defense & Insurance Readiness Forum, hosted jointly by Puerto Rican firms GM Sectec and Hub Puerto Rico/Carrión, Laffitte & Casellas.

Every 36 seconds, cybercriminals access the sensitive data of individuals and companies to steal, sell, use, or kidnap it, among other criminal modalities. According to statistical projections, an event in this category will happen to everyone.

Kevin Vázquez, intelligence analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, most forms of cybercrime have in common that the actors disguise themselves to gain the trust of the user, deceive, confuse, and make them their victim by gaining access to their private information and money. This hacker is usually located in faraway countries.

“It’s vital to prevent the user from being exposed to these situations, so companies must have appropriate defense tools for their sensitive data. For any company, it’s essential to know the activity that’s taking place on its computer network to be able to detect the suspicious activities carried out by cybercriminals,” said Héctor Guillermo Martínez, president of GM Sectec.

Data from U.S. Small Business Administration indicate that companies take an average of seven months to detect a cyberattack.

The agency’s data indicates that the damage to companies from intellectual property theft exceeds $160 billion in losses and that cybercrime costs the global economy about $445 billion a year.

“Indemnification for a cyber policy could cover expenses related to forensic experts, counseling or legal representation, cyber extortion, compliance with state laws, credit monitoring, regulatory fines, among others,” said Antonio Casellas, president of Hub Puerto Rico.

“We must think through how many electronic devices the server and therefore the database of a company can be accessed, including laptops, tablets and mobile phones. This reflects the high degree of vulnerability that each company has to become a victim of a cybercrime,” Casellas said.

“By understanding it in this way, we can understand the importance of having specialized insurance solutions that are tailored to the needs of each industry as a source of support in the event of this fatality,” he added.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2019, “we have seen severe attacks where we had to handle crises and severe losses. During the last year we have seen almost weekly incidences of different types of attacks,” said Francisco Pérez-Burgos, senior vice president of Hub Puerto Rico’s claims and risk management department during the panel discussion. “At Hub Puerto Rico we have been dealing with these types of claims for approximately 10 years. We have seen how incidents and complaints are becoming more frequent and severe,” he said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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