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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Underwriting agency hit by cyber attack

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Underwriting agency ProRisk has been hit by a serious cyber attack, forcing a shutdown of systems for several days.

Executive Director Hamish McDonald-Nye told insuranceNEWS.com.au today that a phishing attempt seeded malware onto the company’s network at the weekend, and the system was shut down to isolate the issue and protect client data.

“It initially looked containable but then became apparent that it was more significant,” he said.

“Malware is developing all the time and what we appear to have is something very, very new. It is a tough call to make, but we enacted a controlled shutdown to limit any spread.

“Our IT advisers are currently working round the clock on getting us back up online and trading.

“We would like to assure the market that based on our investigations to date it is apparent that no client information has been compromised.”

Mr McDonald-Nye says the incident proves cyber attacks “can happen to anyone”.

“We had a whole lot of precautions in place which we had recently reviewed, and backups in place. This makes you realise just how challenging [the cyber threat] can be.”

Mr McDonald-Nye says that despite systems being down, policy renewals will be held on cover and instructions to bind cover will be honoured.

“We have outstanding capacity providers and we are receiving great support from all of them,” he said.

Specialist motor underwriting agency Armada, which Mr McDonald-Nye also runs, has been affected, but to a lesser extent.

Mr McDonald-Nye says ProRisk will launch a cyber product later this year, and the lessons from this attack “will be invaluable”.

“This incident reinforces the need for cyber security and cyber insurance as an essential part of an organisation’s information security and risk posture,” he said.

“ProRisk and Armada invested heavily in information security, which is why we were able to identify the incident at the earliest opportunity and act to isolate it so quickly.

“While it may take some time to get back to business as usual, the incident serves as a reminder to the broader market to continue to invest in cyber resilience.”

It is not known when ProRisk systems will return to normal, but alternative emails have been set up. More details at www.prorisk.com.au