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Cyber security protection for high-net-worth individuals – our top tips

March 29, 2022

Cyber-crime continues to rise in scale and complexity, and in 2021 was found to cost the UK £2.4 billion.1 The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that fraud and computer misuse offences increased by 36% last year.2 However, it is not just businesses where the risk of cyber-attacks have increased.3 Individuals also need to be aware of the threat, with high-net-worth families and individuals becoming prime targets for cyber criminals.4

Cyber criminals targeting high-net-worth individuals

High-net-worth individuals are being targeted as they may be seen as easier targets than businesses, with less cyber security complexities compared to large corporates. Cyber criminals also expect a higher pay-off when targeting high-net-worth individuals, and therefore invest greater resources in attacks.5

Cyber-crime and cyber-attacks can come in a variety of different guises. In the UK, around three-quarters of reported cyber-crimes in 2020 fell under ‘hacking’, with hacking of social media and email accounts the most common of all types (46.7%).6

For high-net-worth individuals, their public status and lifestyle may make them more of a target, with hackers able to gain insights into wealth and property ownership from public records. Social media can also provide a plethora of information about an individual, unknowingly offering cyber criminals valuable details which could be used to aid a social engineering attack.

For cyber criminals the aim is to exploit human or security vulnerabilities, in order to gain access to passwords, data or money. The most common cyber threats, according to the National Crime Agency, include:6

  • Hacking – including social media and email passwords.
  • Phishing – bogus emails asking for security information and personal details.
  • Malicious software – including ransomware through which criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom.

Tips for improving cyber security

With cyber-crime on the rise,7 and the scale and complexity of attacks widening, there is an increased need for high-net-worth individuals to broaden their security to include the digital realm.

A study by Marsh Private Client Services in 2021, found that cyber threats ranked among clients’ top concerns, but also noted that this is the area in which they feel least prepared.8 So what can be done to help protect yourself and your assets online?

  • Install anti-virus protection and firewalls – a first line of defence in protecting your assets and online profile.
  • Keep software up-to-date – helping defend against vulnerabilities identified by hackers, across devices, browsers and apps.
  • Be wary of phishing scams – this can be via email or phone. Basic principles are to be wary of emails from people you don’t know, inspect links before clicking and review sender details to verify authenticity.
  • Protect your personal information – information such as name, address, and date of birth can be useful tools to a hacker. Therefore, be careful with the details you share on social media, and review your privacy settings.
  • Use mobile devices securely – keep devices updated, avoid sending sensitive information over text message or email, install apps from trusted sources and don’t use obvious passwords.
  • Back-up data regularly – if you become the victim of a ransomware or malware attack, having a recent back-up of your data will prove invaluable.
  • Consult an expert – consulting with cyber security firms to understand vulnerabilities, and assess potential risks, can help improve cyber defences, reducing the risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.

Marsh Private Clients cyber security protection

Trying to prevent cyber-attacks should be a priority, however sometimes, despite best practices, breaches can happen. That’s when the importance of having a cyber-security insurance policy is demonstrated. Being the victim of cyber-crime can be stressful and unsettling, therefore, having assistance on hand to help restore your home systems, remove viruses and cover financial loss, following a cyber-attack, can be invaluable.

Our team of prestige insurance experts will discuss your needs and priorities, before working with our panel of trusted insurers to arrange a personal cyber insurance policy that is truly fit for purpose, with access to a team of breach specialists that can help you address risks and issues at pace.

What can cyber security insurance include?

Our Private Clients team can arrange personal cyber insurance that offers protection for:

  • Cyber extortion – most commonly occurring in the form of ransomware.
  • Social engineering – often conducted via email, when fraudsters trick an individual into giving passwords, bank information, or access to devices, resulting in financial loss.
  • Cyber theft ‒ providing financial reimbursement for the costs associated with the theft of digital information and assets up to your policy's limits.
  • Hacker damage – should hackers manage to bypass your antivirus and firewalls to gain access to your computer, you’ll want help trying to retrieve personal data and repair corrupted items.
  • Cyber media liability – if a malicious third party gains access to your personal email or social media accounts, the consequences can be severe, potentially with claims being brought against you.

To find out more or to discuss your personal cyber security insurance with a prestige insurance expert contact our Marsh Private Clients team today, who will be able to offer guidance on the cover you need.