Commercial insurer NFU Mutual has launched a free three-month cyber helpline service for its small business and small farm customers. The benefit will be available to existing customers, as well as to new policy holders.
The free support follows warnings from the National Crime Agency that the UK could see organised groups taking advantage of Coronavirus uncertainty for exploitation schemes. Action Fraud reported that Coronavirus-related fraud cases increased by 400% in March, with the majority of incidents taking place online.
Delivered by CyberScout, a global industry leader in cyber security and identity theft resolution services, the free helpline launches today and will run until the 30th September. The service aims to provide additional support to small business and small farm customers facing increased cyber vulnerability during the Coronavirus crisis.
Eligible customers will benefit from free access to a 24/7 cyber incident advice helpline. CyberScout’s expert advisors will coach customers through ‘up to the minute’ methods of protection from criminals, as well as being at the end of the line in the event of an attack to manage the process and limit damage. The service supports both proactive advice and response to issues, such as extortion, privacy breaches, liability, crime and data/system restore.
CyberScout is able to resolve most issues raised by businesses over the phone. In the event a case requires further investigation and support, CyberScout will provide a quote for their services, allowing callers to choose whether to proceed. Customers should note that the support does not constitute cyber insurance and does not mean that their business has cover in the event of a cyber-attack.
Zoe Knight, Commercial Propositions Manager at NFU Mutual, said: “Small business owners are facing an increase in cyber-attacks and online scams. Business premises and systems are usually secure or ‘trusted’, but with more people working from home and on new devices, the potential of cyber security risks for businesses has grown.
“We have launched this free service in direct response to the increased exposure our commercial customers are facing. Brazen criminals are adopting more and more sophisticated approaches to exploit fear and uncertainty as they look to reap rewards from the current crisis.
“Any business can fall victim to cybercrime, and our customers told us that they weren’t sure who to turn to in the event of an attack. With unlimited support now available to our small business and small farm customers 24/7, we hope we can help businesses work virtually with more confidence.”
Tom Spier, Commercial Director – Global Markets at CyberScout, said: “Throughout this pandemic, cyber criminals are doing what they do best- exploiting individuals and businesses when they’re most vulnerable.
“We are pleased to partner with NFU Mutual to provide their small business policyholders with access to our world-class team of cyber experts. With this model program, NFU Mutual is recognising COVID-related cyber threats and providing their customers the highest level of support and care when it’s needed most.”
In addition to this free service, NFU Mutual has committed to a £32m Coronavirus Support Package to help its customers and their communities during the current crisis. The package includes £1.8m of charitable donations, additional cover across a range of policies and a commitment to speed up claims.
NFU Mutual top tips for businesses to protect against cybercrime
- Advise all employees to use a strong, unique password for email and other business accounts. These should not be easily guessable names, dates or numbers. The same password should not be used across different accounts and all passwords should be changed regularly.
- Take extra care with emails. Never click on a link in an unsolicited email and be extra vigilant of any messages that ask you to reset an account password or give personal information. Scammers often pretend to be an organisation or person you know – a practice known as phishing.
- Ensure you have the right processes and technology in place which are designed to not only prevent cyber-attacks but also to deal with the effects during and after any attack
- Make cyber security a priority for everyone in the business — employees need to play an active role in minimising risks. There should be effective training in place and ongoing awareness programmes to keep staff involved in protecting the business
- Consider the cyber security in place throughout your supply chain to ensure any weak links are addressed
- Don’t wait until you become aware of a cyber-attack. Instead, proactively look to detect breaches or any weaknesses in your systems, and practise how you would respond in the event of a breach
- The ideal approach is to prevent the intrusion, damage or loss in the first place, but it can also be reassuring to have a cyber insurance policy in place. Data breaches can result in fines and reputational damage, while attacks can lead to business shutdowns.