What is cyber liability?
A more common insurance term is ‘third party liability’, which relates to cyber liability. We at Bidvest Insurance define cyber liability specifically as your liability for a financial loss suffered by a third party directly as a result of a virus or cyber attack that has originated from your device or account.
Examples of cyber liability situations
- You share a flash drive with a friend to transfer photographs from your device to his/hers and a virus is spread from your machine to his/hers.
- Your friends ask to use your laptop to log into their online banking profiles to make some payments, and a keystroke virus reads their passwords on your device, so they become targets of cyber crime as a result.
- You use an instant messaging service like WhatsApp or Skype to complain to a friend overseas about a hard time you’re having at work. Maybe you mention a colleague or a manager, and you then become the victim of a cyber attack, so someone else gets fired, and gets sued, because your messages have been leaked or published.
What devices are vulnerable to cyber liability?
When we mention ‘your devices’ you probably think of the usual: laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), we have more types of connected devices today than ever before. In general, cyber liability includes the result of financial losses from cyber attacks on other devices like scanners, printers, smart TVs, security cameras, smart lighting, digital assistants, AC systems, medical devices, manufacturing devices and much more.
Is cyber liability an issue for South Africans?
Quite simply: yes it is. In fact, we’re more at risk than a number of other countries in the world. While access to mobile Internet proliferates across South Africa, the rate of education surrounding it is much much slower, and limited to institutions that are fitted with media devices like selected schools and libraries.
It’s increasingly tough to educate entire communities who are shifting to online interactions and transactions without adequate infrastructure and resources: another reason why we use every opportunity to publish updated information to our blog, for you to stay in the loop.
Are there laws that address cyber liability?
Legislature evolves at a slower pace than cyber risks in South Africa. Even if we are to develop the necessary legal frameworks for citizens to remain protected, enforcing those laws are going to form another challenge entirely. While the evolution of cyber law continues in our country, individuals like you need to protect themselves.
Statistics show that over one million people fall victim to cyber attacks every single day. Cyber criminals are sophisticated and the average user of a connected device is not prepared to prevent cyber attacks, even those that directly result in cyber liability situations.
Cyber liability and POPIA in South Africa
Prior to the Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA) being signed into effect, almost 100% of technology-related decisions prioritised performance without giving so much as a second thought to cyber risks like cyber liability. With the enforcement of POPIA sweeping across South Africa, every user of connected technology is being encouraged to ask questions about his/her devices, operating systems, software applications and/or databases. The longer you ignore the reality of your cyber vulnerability, and your personal cyber liability in terms of your digital footprint, the more and more exposed you could be.
It’s also critical to remember that while POPIA is there to protect people, like your friends or other people who may claim cyber liability from you, it also outlines the responsibilities of the very same people. With every right, there comes an appropriate responsibility so third parties also need to take precautions, which is why we cover mediation as a middle ground before jumping straight into litigation, in cyber liability claims.
Can you prevent cyber liability?
Anything related to the cyber world can easily be overwhelming for the average South African. Our general lack of threat detection, both in terms of education as technology users and tools and resources serving this purpose, expose us to enormous cyber risks on a daily basis. The best ways for you to prevent cyber liability include:
- Educate yourself. Stay updated by reading and bookmarking articles on our blog.
- Get covered. Even educated people are never entirely risk-free, so we recommend protecting yourself from the worst possible financial impact by getting Cyber Rescue.
- Equip yourself. As part of Cyber Rescue, we offer an antivirus software licence. Make sure that you have the right tools in place to identify, resolve and/or remove cyber threats so that you don’t find yourself embroiled in a legal battle because of cyber liability.
- Take extra precautions. With cloud based storage becoming more popular and accessible, sharing data through the use of CDs and flash drives is slowly being phased out of society. Where possible, choose a contactless method of file transfer, with additional security layers, and be careful of who you let use and access your personal devices.
What’s different about Bidvest’s cyber liability cover?
When it comes to cyber insurance, it’s usually tailored for the needs of big corporates or SMMEs, and often you as an individual person have nowhere to turn to if something goes wrong and you become a victim of a cyber attack. It’s even worse when you suffer a financial loss, and you’re trying to recover without any support. The biggest blow to your financial house is that after it happens once, and if you’re stuck on your own, you may not know how to prevent it or how to make sure your devices and accounts are fully protected, going forward.
This is why we focus on protecting you and your loved ones. Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue prioritises the personal impact that cyber attacks can have on your life. We take nothing for granted, which is why we include a dedicated IT Helpline for all your general IT needs.
What does the Cyber Rescue IT helpline offer?
The greatest thing about the way that our Cyber Rescue product works is that it isn’t just a damage-control tool. From the moment your first premium is paid, you’re protected on so many levels. Not only do you get an antivirus software licence, but you also get unlimited IT advice through a dedicated IT helpline.
This means you can rely on us to help you prevent the risk of cyber liability, and the possible legal battle which may follow. Whether you have questions about connecting your device to a public network, like when you’re at the local mall, or you want help with connecting a friend’s device to your printer through your home network, we can help and we can advise you on the safest way to do these kinds of things.
Doesn’t home insurance cover cyber liability?
Here’s the thing: in our ever-changing digitally inclined world, new cyber environments are created through almost weekly breakthroughs. As this happens, so too does the scope and the limitations of regular insurance that you purchase. While you might think that your home contents insurance policy covers your devices, we strongly recommend that you read your fine print and make sure you understand what you’re covered for.
Why? Because a device doesn’t have to get stolen, or experience water damage in order for you to suffer a financial loss or be placed at heightened levels of cyber risk, today. Cyber risks, like cyber liability, demand specialist insurance like that provided through Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue. A standard home contents insurance policy is just not designed to cover newly evolving cyber risks, like Cyber Rescue does.
So should you get cyber insurance?
Cyber risks are only going to grow in scope and intensity. If you’re not investing in protecting yourself, you’re risking everything you’ve worked so hard for, especially if you have a bank account that you access through an online banking profile or a mobile banking app. Just think about how you earn your money and through which channel it comes your way: there is everything to lose if you’re not protected.
What’s actually covered by Cyber Rescue?
Bidvest Insurance Cyber Rescue covers you for cyber liability, meaning that in the event of any third party losing money as a result of a virus or a cyber attack on your device, we will provide you with legal support. The legal support you get is for claims by the affected third-party directly suffering the financial loss. Not only does this benefit cover you for legal costs if the third party’s financial loss was caused by a virus or cyber attack on your device, it also applies to any of your online profiles or accounts or your personal cloud service provider (all related to your device).
It’s important to note that cyber liability insurance, or cyber insurance in general, works in a similar way to other insurance policies. Let’s use building insurance as an example. If you don’t make sure that you have sufficient measures in place, like certified plumbers working on your piping, your building insurance claim for water damages may be repudiated.
Basically, the same way that unprotected physical premises might be uninsurable, or drive up a risk profile so that extremely high premiums and excesses take effect, so too do we require that the insured fulfils certain minimum requirements like regularly updating software, including the antivirus software for which a licence is provided when taking Cyber Rescue.
Specific cyber liability benefits from Bidvest Insurance:
Here’s what our Cyber Rescue clients enjoy as part of their policy benefits in relation to cyber liability:
- Unlimited legal advice over telephone calls.
- Unlimited mediation support and services per claim (for up to two claims each year), which means that there’s support for resolving legal matters through telephone calls, emails and letters.
- Litigation services, for which up to R100 000 cover will be provided toward your personal legal expenses to defend legal action resulting from cyber liability (up to one claim each year)
In the context of all cyber liability claims, the onus is on the third party to prove that they have suffered a financial loss, as a result of a cyber attack originating from you.
Do cyber liability claims have a limit?
The standard policy claim limit is up to two claims a year, but remember that telephonic advice is free and unlimited, so you can always contact the dedicated IT Helpline to access personal IT support. If you’re a Cyber Rescue client, your cyber liability benefit provides up to R100 000 in cover, per claim (up to one claim each year). Cover is also limited to cases where the third party resides within South Africa.
What aspects of cyber liability are not covered?
Cyber Rescue’s cyber liability benefit does not cover the following:
- Any losses suffered by your family, any employees in your household (inside your house and on your property) or other persons residing at your physical address.
- The actual financial losses suffered by the third party
- The cost and expenses of litigation awarded against you in legal proceedings
- Costs and expenses incurred after you have accepted an offer to settle the claim
- Penalties, fines, criminal offences or criminal judgement against you
- Litigation services under circumstances where there is no reasonable prospect to succeed (i.e. insufficient merits to win the case as determined by us)
- Any legal expenses not approved by us.
For more elaborate legal cover, we’ve recently introduced another product known as Legal Angel which you can learn more about on our website, too.
AON. 2017. Cyber liability insurance. Web page online. Available at: https://aon.co.za/SI_CyberLiabilityInsurance.aspx [Accessed 23 November 2020].
BusinessTech. 2020. 5 Whatsapp messages that can get you fired in South Africa. Article online. 30 October. Available at: https://businesstech.co.za/news/technology/444590/5-whatsapp-messages-that-can-get-you-fired-in-south-africa/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].
Pillay, A. 2019. Cyber liability insurance. De Rebus. 42 (JanFeb). Journal article available online at: http://www.derebus.org.za/cyber-liability-insurance/ [Accessed 23 November 2020].
Stuttard, P. 2020. Security challenges presented by POPI and the pandemic. ITWeb. Article online. 3 November. Available at: https://www.itweb.co.za/content/VgZey7JoLBwMdjX9 [Accessed 23 November 2020].