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We donít pay ransoms: Insurance House

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Insurance House Group refused to negotiate with cyber attackers who demanded a ransom to restore operations.

As previously reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au, a June 9 attack affected all Insurance House operations including the brokerage and authorised representative network, with underwriting agency ProRisk worst affected.

All systems are now back up and running, but Insurance House Group MD Jay Fereday told insuranceNEWS.com.au “lingering effects” could last another month.

“It was a form of ransomware and we were directed to click a link and negotiate,” Mr Fereday said. “We don’t do that. We didn’t enter into any form of contact, so we’ll never know what the financial demand might have been.

“Our response was pragmatic. The best advice we had was to focus on the things that we can control.”

Mr Fereday says no data was compromised, but clients were unable to contact the group for several days.

“That was the hardest part, and caused clients considerable anxiety. We were very well prepared, but until you have to deal with this, you don’t know what you will have to face. We will certainly be a lot stronger as a result.”

ProRisk Executive Director Hamish McDonald-Nye paid tribute to the “wonderful support” of brokers, clients and the wider market.

“The cost of managing this is not insignificant,” he said. “Our true assets are our staff, and substantial hours were lost.

“But through this, myself and the senior management team have identified ways to do things better, and I’ve been so surprised by how pragmatic people are when faced with a crisis.

“There was no panic and we had regular meetings.”

He says the fact malware can be distributed at low cost and anonymously is “terrifying” for businesses.

“It is very hard to police, but this is the reality for individuals and businesses. We have to take every precaution, and then some.”