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Panel focused on supply chain cybersecurity

Many companies now view their digital assets as more valuable than buildings and other infrastructure, according to Giles Harlow, a cybersecurity expert.

But the vice-president of professional risk solutions at Aon Bermuda, added that a recent survey showed companies still spent four times more on protecting property compared to digital networks.

Mr Harlow said the insurance business had responded to modern-day threats to businesses, with new insurance options available.

“If a vendor you rely on, perhaps the cloud services provider, goes down and you suffer loss as a result of them going down, you can now get cover,” he said.

He was speaking after the Association of Trade and Forfaiting in the Americas held its annual conference in Bermuda — the first time the event has been held outside the US.

Mr Harlow moderated a panel discussion at the conference, held at the Hamilton Princess, on Friday featuring lawyer Duncan Card, from Bennett Jones, and Noel Pearman, senior vice-president at XL Catlin, which discussed cyber-risk to trade finance.

He said: “It really focused around the transactional risk of financial institutions as opposed to operational risk.”

The panel discussed assets that needed to be protected and what the major threats to the integrity of transactions were.

Mr Harlow said: “The assets companies are looking to protect are the integrity of their supply chain.

“Duncan spoke about the kind of reputational assets they have and Noel then spoke about the threat vectors and how a lot of people are focusing on threat vectors being external and malicious, but what they forget about is internal malicious attacks from inside the organisation and accidents and omissions that can lead to attacks.

“We also spoke about the reputational damage of a transaction being breached.

“Vulnerabilities are always being exploited and there are new ones always being exploited.”

Mr Harlow added that attacks from organised crime and rogue nation states looking to disrupt the economies of rivals were increasingly being viewed as a major risk.

He said that kind of attack could be a sophisticated hack — or as simple as employees inside organisations falling for a phishing attack, leaving their entire networks open.

“Once they're in, they can attack, cause damage and even pretend to be part of the organisation, mimicking e-mails, for example.

“Security and the human element are important because the human element is often the weakest in these chains.

“Despite everything, these incidents will occur so it's about minimising damage.”

Harpreet Mann, president of ATFA, said the organisation, set up to encourage the best methods of global trade finance in the region, now has around 100 members, including banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, insurance brokers, law firms and corporations.

Giles Harlow

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Published May 01, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 01, 2017 at 9:20 am)

Panel focused on supply chain cybersecurity

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