Cyberattacks are they Acts of War?

Apr 04 2023

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Welcome to Gone Phishing, your daily cybersecurity newsletter that disagrees with ‘ethnicity-based policing’. We don’t care whether scammers are Russian, Chinese, or North Korean ???? JK!

Today’s hottest cyber security stories:

  • Are ‘state-backed’ cyberattacks Acts of War? Insurance market says YES
  • Capita disruption was indeed a cyberattack! Systems remain DOWN
  • Western Digital suffers cyber-attack, shuts down systems


Insurance companies have been cashing in on cybersecurity insurance policies in the last few years but evidently they’re getting a bit fed up with having to actually pay out, on occasion. Boo-hoo!

As a result, the subject of whether or not cyberattacks constitute Acts of War (thereby not covered!) is currently the subject of hot debate!

Indeed, Lloyds of London is currently embroiled in a battle that could decide the future of the cyber insurance industry. As of next month, Lloyd’s will require insurers to include exemptions that prevent policies from paying out if a cyber-attack is “state-backed”.

You know, because cyber warfare is totally a thing now, and governments are getting in on the action! Especially (it must be said!) our neighbours to the East. We’re talking Russia, China, and North Korea – probably in that order, too!

Of course, exclusions for acts of war have been around for ages, but Lloyd’s wants to update them for the internet age. If they don’t, insurers could be exposed to “systemic risk”. Yikes!

Overall, cyber-attacks are a big deal these days, and businesses are spending billions of dollars on insurance policies to protect themselves. Fitch Ratings even predicts that the total spend could reach $22.5bn by 2025.

So, let’s all cross our fingers and hope that Lloyd’s knows what they’re doing, or we could be in for a cyber-pocalyptic future!

But what do the experts have to say on the matter?

Well, Simon Ashworth, head of insurance analytics and research at S&P Global Ratings, warned: “The proliferation of imprecise cyber war exclusions could hurt the development of a sustainable cyber insurance market, which is in no one’s interest.”

Michael Steel, head of Moody’s RMS, a major risk-modelling firm, countered: “If the insurance industry doesn’t step up, [cyber] will be one of the biggest missed opportunities with companies self-insuring or government schemes being developed to deal with the challenge.”

“It’s a public relations disaster for the industry,” said Joshua Motta, chief executive at San Francisco-based Coalition, a major cyber insurer that sells some of its policies within Lloyd’s.

As the deadline approaches, we’ll be watching with popcorn to see how this plays out. And don’t worry, you’ll be the first to know once a decision is reached! ????????????

Hate to say I TOLD YOU SO!

Ah, vindication how sweet the sound. Not that it’s anything to celebrate, mind! To our new subscribers, we covered a story yesterday about Capita’s systems going down on Friday and speculated that, despite the firm’s claims to the contrary, it was a cyber-attack. And looks like we were right!

For context, Capita is a major outsourcing company that has contracts with the NHS, the military, and countless other largescale organisations. So yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. Deja vu, much?

So, here’s the latest on the Capita-l calamity committed on Capita:

The company was working over the weekend to try to repair systems for clients, which include agencies involved in critical national infrastructure. Some customers reported having to resort to using radios, pens and paper after the attack.

“On Friday 31st March, Capita plc experienced a cyber incident primarily impacting access to internal Microsoft Office 365 applications,” the company said in a statement on Monday, referring to the suite of products that includes email, Teams virtual meetings and Word and Excel.

“This caused disruption to some services provided to individual clients, though the majority of our client services remained in operation,” Capita added.

However, Capita stopped short of detailing which of its customers had been affected… So, WATCH THIS SPACE!


Customers have taken to Twitter to report they’re unable to log into their storage products through Western Digital’s online portal.

Indeed, Twitter is abuzz with reports from frustrated customers who can’t access their precious digital hoard on Western Digital’s website.

Unfortunately for the data storage company, it turns out they’ve fallen victim to a cyberattack that’s forced them to take some systems offline.

According to Western Digital, they spotted some suspicious network activity on March 26 and it turns out some sneaky intruder had gained unauthorized access to their systems.

But fear not, the company has rallied its incident response team and brought in some outside experts to help sort things out. They’re still investigating the situation and even have the law on their side.

God Speed, guys!

So long and thanks for reading all the phish!

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