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Article | Decode Cyber Brief

The human element remains a leading cause of cyber risk

Decode Cyber Brief – Winter 2019 Edition

Cyber Risk Management|Risk & Analytics|Insurance Consulting and Technology

January 18, 2019

A bi-annual publication featuring the latest trends in managing the people, capital and technology risks related to cybersecurity across your enterprise.

We are excited to present the Decode Cyber Brief for winter 2019, following on our last edition, which included a unique analysis of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), blockchain, and essentials for effective security awareness. As we begin the New Year, we are pleased to present the Willis Towers Watson 2017-18 Reported Cyber Claims Index, consisting of 288 cyber claims specially selected to represent different industries, incidents, severity and loss amounts that we reported to insurers on behalf of our clients.

As shown in the chart below, the human element remains a leading cause of cyber risk, associated with 61% of the claims. The increase of social engineering claims from last year (up to 17% from 10%) is attributable to its low-cost and high-return nature. Social engineering relies on the weakest link in cybersecurity: human behavior. As a result, bad actors appear to be devoting more resources to creating new, more sophisticated methods of social engineering. Organizations must allocate sufficient capital for cybersecurity training and education to combat the threat.

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