Insurers warned: 'don't expect governments to defend you from cyber-attacks'

Published in: Risk, Risk management, Conduct risk, Corporate strategy, UK, Rest of Europe, ROW, Software - IT, People

Insurers have been warned that a changing international order means insurers – rather than governments – must take responsibility for defending themselves against state-sponsored cyber-attacks.

General Sir Richard Barrons, who has served as one of the chiefs of staff leading the UK armed forces, sounded the warning while speaking at InsuranceERM’s Insurance Risk & Capital EMEA conference in London earlier this week.

Barrons said: “It is not government’s responsibility to protect organisations in the cyber realm.”

He added that business  would have to play its role in cyber defence.

Barrons also warned that a changing geo-political environment and technology mean risks will have to be managed differently in future.

War between states is back and “it really hurts”, he said.

Countries have new strategic options for exerting influence at a long range, without invasion. Our daily lives can be disrupted, for example cyber attacks can shut down the foundations of civilisation such as transportation, water and electricity supplies.

Looking ahead, Barrons identified some of the defence issues that to be considered between 2018 and 2050. These include:

  •      A disgruntled and ambitious Russia, which poses security risks and uncertainty
  •      Violent religious extremism evolves a presence in established states
  •      The fracturing of key alliances
  •      The effects on states of migration, trade barriers, Brexit and the dissatisfaction with established politics

One overall impact, from a risk perspective, is there will be less reliable laws and institutions, said Barrons.

Ronan McCaughey