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Cyber crime: Swiss SMEs underestimate the dangers

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Although increasing numbers of hacker attacks are inflicting immense damage on Swiss companies, the seriousness of the situation is often underestimated. Learn how serious the consequences can be and what preventive measures protect you against cyber risks.

As we all become increasingly more networked, companies face a growing risk from cyber attacks. Although hacker attacks can result in considerable costs due to the risk of business interruptions, SMEs are often unaware of the threat. In a KPMG study more than half of the companies questioned admitted they had no overview of their risk situation.* The situation is serious: in the 12 months before the study was published, 54% of the companies questioned fell victim to a cyber attack. Attacks most often occur in the form of phishing emails and malware. About a third of the companies questioned suffered a financial loss as a result. A quarter of those affected also fear reputational damage. Any company not confronting this increasing threat is simply making itself an easy target for attack - with all the serious consequences that brings.

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As we all become increasingly more networked, companies face a growing risk from cyber attacks. Although hacker attacks can result in considerable costs due to the risk of business interruptions, SMEs are often unaware of the threat. In a KPMG study more than half of the companies questioned admitted they had no overview of their risk situation.* The situation is serious: in the 12 months before the study was published, 54% of the companies questioned fell victim to a cyber attack. Attacks most often occur in the form of phishing emails and malware. About a third of the companies questioned suffered a financial loss as a result. A quarter of those affected also fear reputational damage. Any company not confronting this increasing threat is simply making itself an easy target for attack - with all the serious consequences that brings.

A Swiss real-life case: Daring data theft

Thomas Danner, claims inspector at AXA, is increasingly confronted with cases of cyber crime. The Swiss company "Example AG" was victim of a cyber attack in July 2016. A hacker smuggled an email with a trojan , disguised as a job application, into the system of a repair shop with 15 employees and gained access to the operating system. As a result of this manipulation, the email server stopped issuing replies. In short: The SME "Example AG" more or less lost its ability to trade within a very short time period.

After the attack: one week of business interruption

The affected company reacted correctly and immediately informed its IT specialists. In spite of their intense efforts, the specialists were unable to remove the unknown trojan. Forensic investigations revealed that a considerable volume of data had been transferred externally. It was only after a complete reinstallation of all servers and workstations, combined with the time-consuming restoration of data security, that the SME could resume operations after more than a week. The combined cost of recovering the data and the business interruption amounted to about 15,000 francs. Fortunately "Example AG" had taken out cyber insurance with AXA Winterthur at the start of 2016, which covered the financial loss from the attack.

 

The combined cost of recovering the data and the business interruption amounted to about 15,000 francs.

Fortunately "Example AG" had taken out cyber insurance with AXA Winterthur at the start of 2016.

 

Thanks to AXA: comprehensive protection against cyber attacks

43 million cyber attacks were reported across the globe in 2014, affecting more than 500 million people. Experts estimate the damage in Switzerland alone at CHF 370 million each year. As one of the first insurers to react to this threat, AXA has been insuring small businesses against the consequences of cyber risks since April 2015. In October 2016, AXA extended its coverage by adding modules that are specially tailored to the needs of SMEs. This allows businesses with sales of up to 50 million to benefit from comprehensive protection.

* Source: Bilanz, "How cyber crime is threatening Swiss companies," 24.05.2016

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