Michael’s… 3rd Retailer Suffers Breach?

Posted in Cyber Liability/Data Breach with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by geoffpopeapo


Target and Neiman Marcus are trying to recover from recent data breaches. A group of hackers in Eastern Europe are believed to be responsible for both. After the dust settled, it’s been reported that 70 million to 110 million people were affected by Target’s breach, and another 1 million were affected by the Neiman Marcus breach. Michael’s, the largest arts and crafts retailer in the US, seems to be the 3rd major American retailer to suffer a similar breach in a very short time. Michael’s is still investigating whether or not an actual breach occurred, but if this story ends like most of them begin, we will have a lot of people wondering and worrying if their personal information has fallen into the wrong hands.

What does this tell us? It tells us that businesses should be worried more about a their system being compromised and breached than an actual break and enter. It also tells us that no business or corporation is safe regardless of how big they might be, and that’s scary. Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michael’s can and will recover from these devastating data breaches, but small to medium size businesses might not be able to recover from a similar breach. While business owners might not be able to ever prevent a breach, they can prepare for one. And if you’re business is interesting and growing, a potential breach is inevitable. Cyber liability insurance, which is not included in general liability, is an optimal solution and can help you recover from a devastating breach. Businesses that unfortunately suffer a breach with no cyber liability coverage might be forced to ultimately close their doors.

For questions or concerns about data breaches and cyber liability insurance, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment.


Smart Cards Could Have Protected Target Shoppers From Identity Thieves

Posted in Cyber Liability/Data Breach with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2013 by geoffpopeapo

Target is responsible for the breach, but should credit card companies share the blame?

The Chicago Defender

After thieves hijacked credit and debit card data belonging to 40 million Target shoppers, many blamed the retail giant for putting them at risk of identity theft.

But some experts are also pointing to a less visible culprit: the credit card industry. Card issuers might not have been able to prevent the recent data breach at Target, but if they had upgraded to more secure technology, they could have deterred thieves from using that stolen information to make counterfeit credit cards.


U.S. banks rely on credit cards with magnetic strips, which can be easily reproduced by thieves, while European banks have issued millions of more modern “smart cards” that are embedded with computer chips. Smart cards encrypt transaction information, require thieves to know the cardholder’s PIN, and can generate one-time-only passwords.

To read more, click here.


View original post

Target is the Target, 2nd Largest Breach in U.S. History

Posted in Cyber Liability/Data Breach with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2013 by geoffpopeapo


Target is the most recent American company to suffer a devastating data breach. The initial breach occurred over the Black Friday weekend, which is considered the busiest shopping period of the year. However, recent reports have stated that anyone who shopped at Target from November 27th to December 15th may have had their information stolen. The timing of this breach was brilliant for the culprits due to the millions of people who would be exposed, but beyond terrible for a retailer the size of Target who counts on the November and December holiday rush. This is the second largest credit card breach in U.S. history next to the TJ Maxx breach in 2007, in which 45 millions credit cards were breached costing them $256 million. 

Data from about 40 million credit cards and debit cards were stolen through Target’s magnetic strips. Target is the #2 discount chain in America; however, their direct competitors (Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Costco) stand to gain many of their customers due to their recent breach. While Target has stated that the breach did not affect online shoppers, customers and potential victims are voicing their frustrations through social media platforms. Anyone who has shopped at Target in the time frame state above and noticed suspicious charges should notify their credit card company, and despite customers failed attempts at reaching the their call center, call Target at 1-866-852-8680.

Target is a major U.S. Corporation with 1,800 stores and $73 billion reported revenue in 2012. They will survive this breach. However, just imagine how sophisticated their security measurements are and the fact that they were still successfully attacked. Cyber liability insurance is available for not just large corporations like Target, but for small to medium size businesses as well. Cyber liability can help thwart such an attack, and can be the difference in you and your business surviving a devastating breach. If you have any questions or comments on how cyber liability can benefit your business please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email.

What Is Extended Business Income? And What Every Business Owner Should Know…

Posted in Commercial Insurance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by geoffpopeapo


A business interruption is usually the outcome of a serious claim. That interruption, better known as business income insurance, is one of the most important coverages in your policy. It covers the loss of income that your business will incur due to a necessary suspension of day-to-day operations as a result of a serious claim. This coverage is usually standard in most business or commercial policies. It’s important to remember that coverages can vary between carriers. Therefore, the actual limit and/or period of time provided by this coverage will usually be different between carriers, and more or less important to you than other business owners.

Extended Business Income is considered an optional coverage in most business and commercial policies. It is even more important than the initial interruption of business. Your customers and business income will not return to normal the day you reopen your doors weeks or months after a serious claim has been handled. This is where your extended business income kicks in, which provides coverage for customers and sales to return to normal once the business suspension is over. The limit and length of time for extended business income varies between carriers. Some carriers provide this coverage for an additional 30 days, while others may cover it for 90 days. It really depends on the carrier.

Please comment or email me with any questions, or for a detailed analysis of Extended Business Income and how it can make a world of difference for your business.

Insurance Rates and Zip Codes

Posted in Home/Auto with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2013 by geoffpopeapo

Many people wonder why their insurance premiums increase when they move across town. However, many people don’t realize that their premiums could have very well decreased just as easily as they increased. Your new zip code, amongst other factors, is usually the main reason why you’ve experienced an increase or decrease in your premiums. If you move to an area where claims/losses are frequent or more prevalent than your current location, your insurance premiums will inevitably increase regardless of how good your driving record is or even if you’ve never had a claim/loss. Insurance companies essentially share risk amongst their clients to ensure that their claim payouts will never exceed their available cash. They determine who’s sharing risk by their respective location, which is usually zip code, or sometimes even as specific as your exact longitude and latitude. So could your rates possibly change by moving a few blocks away from your current location… the answer is yes.

Other factors that can effect your auto and home rates include: the actual risk being insured (auto, home, etc.), your individual claim/loss history, your insurance score, and other individuals in the household (spouse, children, etc.).

Questions, concerns or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment.

A Personal Umbrella Policy… Why Everyone Needs One.

Posted in Home/Auto with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2013 by geoffpopeapo

In today’s economic climate an unforeseeable lawsuit could be right around the corner. It’s impossible to predict the amount that could be awarded to the winning party, which you could be responsible for paying. An umbrella policy is an excess liability policy that provides coverage when your underlying property coverages have been exhausted. If your property liability limit is $100,000 and the judgement rendered is $250,000, you will be responsible for $150,000. If you don’t have the additional $150,000 to pay in damages, you will unfortunately be in jeopardy of losing current and future personal assets. However, if you have a $1 million umbrella policy, the additional $150,000 will be covered under the umbrella. Most umbrella policies are rather inexpensive, and are definitely worth the premium in comparison to the possible cost of not having one and needing it. Umbrella policies are constructed to cover and offer excess coverage for all of your property, such as autos, home, boats, investment properties, etc. Most carriers offer umbrellas with limits up to $5 million, and even higher limits if you have several personal assets of high worth.

Questions about your personal property, concerns or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment.

The Syrian Electric Army Warns Small Businesses

Posted in Cyber Liability/Data Breach with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by geoffpopeapo
The Syrian Electric Army is a group of hackers that have repeatedly embarrassed one large business or organization after another. They’re government and regime supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Despite the recent Congress battle of whether or not to side with the White House in striking Syria for using chemical weapons, one would be remiss to think that the flurry of cyber attacks by the Syrian Electric Army is not linked to Assad and his recent actions. Nevertheless, since 2011 the Syrian Electric Army has successfully hacked more than 20 businesses throughout the world.

Those businesses include:

  • September, 2011 – Harvard University
  • April, 2012 – LinkedIn
  • September, 2012 – Aljazeera
  • February, 2013 – Haaretz
  • February, 2013 – Sky News Arabia
  • March, 2013 – Qatar Foundation
  • March, 2013 – BBC
  • April, 2013 – CBS
  • April, 2013 – Associated Press
  • April, 2013 – The Guardian
  • July, 2013 – Thomas Reuters
  • August, 2013 – The New York Times
  • September, 2013 – U.S. Marine Corps

Most of their attacks included Websites, Facebook, or Twitter disruptions. Some have been ill attempts at humor, for instance, when they hacked Thomas Reuters and tweeted several political cartoons. Other attacks have caused quick and negative reactions, such as when they hacked the Associated Press. They then tweeted that there had been explosions at the White House and Barack Obama was injured, subsequently the DOW Jones dropped drastically before recovering.

All of these groups or businesses are worth millions if not billions. It’s probably safe to say that most if not all of them have some kind of Cyber Liability Coverage; however, just think if they didn’t. The financial damages could be devastating, as well as the effects on any third-party that might be involved. Despite the financial damages being devastating, most of them would’ve probably recovered because of their financial strength. Can we say the same about recovery for the average small to medium size business? Probably not. Is it likely that the Syrian Electric Army attacks your thriving internet business, no; but, there are millions of hackers and smaller groups who would love to attack your business and become your worst nightmare. According to a study by Net Diligence, in 2012 the average Cyber Liability Claim cost $3.7 million per breach.

A great risk manager can walk you through and explain the need for cyber liability coverage. Questions, concerns or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment.