Wisconsin’s New Cybersecurity Act
The WannaCry ransomware attack is among the greatest cyber attacks in history that affected nearly 200,000 computers around the globe. And with most industries embracing technology to streamline operations and become more efficient, there are increasing cybersecurity concerns. Besides, the possibilities of information breaches and system attacks have become quite popular, making organizations more cautious and prepared against potential cyber threats.
Insurance companies are among high-risk and sensitive industries trying to find new ways to protect their IT infrastructures. Like other enterprises, insurance companies are embracing digital transformation to facilitate virtual operations and enhance customer experiences. However, mobile applications, digital claims, the Internet of Things (IoT), and third-party portals create vulnerabilities in these organizations. Since insurers continue to digitalize their services with AI analytics and Big Data, exposure to cybercriminals and malicious software increases.
Why Are Hackers Targeting Insurance Companies?
With recent trends in information breaches in hundreds of insurance companies in the U.S., it is predicted that attacks will rise considerably in the coming few years. Analysts predict that hackers target insurers since they hold critical customer data and they use this information to engage in fraud. Hence, insurance companies are highly targeted as they handle crucial customer data in their systems, whether internally or externally.
For hackers, insurance companies give them access to millions of crucial customer data, including sensitive organizational information. Furthermore, most insurers are yet to integrate effective cybersecurity protocols to protect their systems and sensitive customer data. This makes them vulnerable to attacks because most insurance companies find it hard to successfully and consistently safeguard their IT infrastructure.
Besides, hackers use sophisticated tools, software and different forms of attacks such as malware, phishing, and ransomware to access this information. This, among other factors, makes insurance companies an easy target for hackers. However, increasing cybersecurity threats have seen different industries, including insurance companies, working towards protecting critical customer data and their systems against attacks.
How Do Hackers Carry Out Attacks Against Insurance Companies?
Ransomware, phishing, SQL injection, malware, and social engineering are common forms of cyber attacks hackers use to launch attacks. Insurance companies are not an exception to all these kinds of attacks, but hackers often use weaponized files. Here are some ways hackers attack insurers.
- Attached-based phishing: Phishing is a common method of cyber attack where attackers send email messages with malicious attachments, harmful to the recipient. Once the victim opens the message and clicks on the attachment, malware deploys, and the attack begins. If an insurance agent clicks on malicious links sent to the company, it may compromise the network, systems or data, leading to an attack.
- Cooperation with third parties: Insurers may collaborate with third parties intending to better customer service. But when customers or vendors connect to the insurance company, it creates a vulnerability of a malware attack. Third parties may provide gateways for malicious software injection that increase potential cases of cyber attacks.
- File-borne attacks: Insurance companies deal with a large amount of customer data, especially from senders from the marketplace and direct messages. This means that they process multiple files, ranging from policy forms to coverage certificates and claim documents. But when the insurer opens an infected file, the company will easily fall victim to cybercriminals.
The Wisconsin Insurance Cybersecurity Act
Recently, the Wisconsin governor signed into law new cybersecurity regulations that protect insurance companies against data breaches. The newly created Cybersecurity Act adopts the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) approach that helps protect critical information in insurance companies. In insurance companies, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) are the most vulnerable areas.
Besides, insurers face increasing risks of cyber attacks that range from ransomware to data breaches. And with cybersecurity incidents being reported more frequently, Wisconsin joins other U.S. states in implementing policies to protect against these attacks. The new laws will primarily require all insurance companies licensed by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) to adopt and implement IT security programs that protect systems and crucial customer data against cyber attacks.
Focus on Sensitive Customer and Company Data
According to the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner, the new Act is focused on helping Wisconsin insurance companies secure their systems and protect personal data from potential threats. The purpose of the new laws is to mandate insurers to incorporate robust and reliable cybersecurity measures to prevent hackers from accessing their IT systems. This ensures insurance companies keep their systems and data secure by minimizing vulnerabilities in their infrastructure.
Also, the Act requires Wisconsin insurance companies to have a risk assessment routine conducted annually. Insurers must address any emerging security concerns or vulnerabilities in their systems likely to put consumer data at risk. It is an effective way to reduce potential cases of attacks while facilitating improvements in cybersecurity solutions.
In case of an attack, the Act mandates insurers to develop an incident response plan that helps address security issues in real-time and prevent attacks. The new laws also require insurers to invest in technologies that provide real-time analysis and notice in a timely manner. This ensures Wisconsin insurance companies incorporate the latest cybersecurity measures that offer the utmost protection, even against sophisticated attacks.
Enhanced PHI and PII Protection
In today’s digital world, nearly all industries, including insurance companies, embrace electronic data storage. Personal identifiable information (PII) involves data that identifies an individual’s identity, such as social security numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers. On the other hand, protected health information (PHI) entails an individual’s health data such as mental health conditions, medical history, demographics, and insurance information.
If hackers gain access to such information, it can lead to ransomware security incidents, corrupted data, manipulation, or data loss. The Wisconsin Insurance Cybersecurity Act ensures that the PHI and PII of individuals remain secure and inaccessible by third parties. This helps secure an insurer’s IT system and reduce or prevent data breaches, provided Wisconsin insurance companies devote themselves and adhere to these newly implemented policies.
Get Started with Professional Cybersecurity Solutions Today!
At 360 Smart Networks, we understand the value of keeping your IT infrastructure secure against potential cyber attacks. Our IT experts can help you incorporate adequate and appropriate cybersecurity tools into your insurance company. To learn more, contact us or schedule a consultation with one of our technical IT experts today!