Bricking: What is it in Cyber Insurance & Is it Covered?

what is bricking in cyber insurance

In today’s digital age, businesses rely largely on technology to run their operations. This makes protecting against cyberattacks important. Knowing and understanding terms like malware, phishing, and ransomware is critical to implementing proper protections. However, there’s another cyber risk that’s equally important yet often overlooked: bricking. So, what is bricking in cyber insurance, and how does it impact businesses? Let’s look into this essential area of cybersecurity.

What is bricking?

Bricking, in cyber insurance, is a term used to describe the outcome of a cyberattack. It’s an attack where a device, whether a computer, a smartphone, or any other electronic device, becomes entirely non-functional. It’s like transforming the device into a mere “brick,” making it unusable in any capacity. This phenomenon can manifest for a variety of reasons. However, the most common culprits are malware infections, software errors, or failed firmware updates.

How does it work?

Bricking is a devastating consequence that typically unfolds when malicious software infiltrates a device and disrupts its functionality. The process is similar to a digital “heart attack,” where the intricate systems and processes within the device cease to function as intended. It leaves the device incapacitated and useless.

Malware responsible for bricking can manifest in various forms, each with its methods of wreaking havoc on the device. For instance, certain types of malware may directly attack the device’s operating system and corrupt vital system files. This will render the device incapable of booting up. In other cases, malware may systematically erase or overwrite critical data stored on the device. It will result in the device being unable to function.

Furthermore, bricking occurrences might happen unintentionally during ordinary maintenance procedures like firmware updates. Errors or compatibility issues in the update process could result in bricking the device.

Overall, the workings of bricking underscore the relentless and indiscriminate nature of cyber threats. It highlights the need for comprehensive cybersecurity measures and proactive risk mitigation strategies.

How does your computer get affected?

When a computer falls victim to bricking, the consequences can be severe and wide-ranging. Here’s a closer look at how bricking affects your computer and your business:

  • Loss of functionality: The primary impact of bricking is the loss of functionality of the affected device. Whether it’s a server, desktop computer, or mobile device, bricking renders it completely unusable. It will result in disrupting normal operations.
  • Disruption of business operations: In a business environment, a bricked device can lead to significant disruptions in operations. For example, if a server or network equipment is bricked, it can result in downtime for critical services. This includes email, file sharing, or customer support systems. This downtime can translate into lost productivity and revenue for the business.
  • Data loss: In many cases, bricking involves the loss or corruption of data stored on the affected device. This could include important documents, customer information, or proprietary software. Data loss can have major consequences for a corporation, ranging from regulatory concerns to reputational damage.
  • Financial costs: Repairing or replacing a bricked device can incur significant financial costs. It doesn’t only include purchasing new hardware or software licenses, but also data recovery, system reconfiguration, and downtime-related losses.
  • Reputation damage: A bricking incident can also damage the reputation of the business, especially if it leads to prolonged downtime or data loss. Customers may lose trust in the organization’s ability to protect their data, resulting in customer churn and unfavorable press.
  • Regulatory compliance risks: Depending on the nature of the data affected by the bricking incident, the business may also face regulatory compliance risks. Data protection standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA, place stringent requirements on the handling and security of sensitive information. A bricking incident that results in data loss or exposure could lead to regulatory fines and penalties.

Can bricking be prevented?

While it’s almost impossible to completely prevent bricking, there are measures that you can take: 

  • Regular firmware and software updates: Keeping devices up-to-date with the latest firmware and software patches. It is a crucial step in lessening the risk of bricking. Manufacturers frequently offer updates to fix security flaws and enhance gadget functionality. By regularly installing these updates, businesses can reduce the likelihood of encountering compatibility issues that could lead to bricking.
  • Implement robust cybersecurity measures: Investing in strong cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems can aid in the identification and prevention of malware infections. Furthermore, installing secure network setups and access controls can lower the likelihood of illegal access and virus infiltration.
  • Exercise caution with updates and downloads: Exercise caution and follow best practices when you install firmware updates or download software patches. Ensure that updates are obtained from reputable sources and are compatible with the device in question. Additionally, avoid downloading files from untrustworthy sites or clicking on strange links, as they may contain malware that causes bricking.
  • Maintain backups of critical data: Regularly backing up sensitive data is critical for limiting the effects of bricking situations. In the event of a bricking incident or data loss, having backups readily available can facilitate the restoration of essential data and minimize downtime. Businesses should put in place comprehensive backup procedures and evaluate their backup systems regularly to ensure they are reliable and effective.

Businesses that follow these preventative steps can considerably reduce the probability of bricking occurrences and mitigate the possible impact on their operations.

Is bricking included in cyber insurance coverage?

A critical consideration for businesses seeking cyber insurance coverage is whether bricking incidents are covered under their policy. While coverage may vary depending on the insurer and specific policy terms, many cyber insurance policies do include coverage for bricking incidents as part of their comprehensive coverage for cyber risks.

Bricking coverage typically encompasses the costs associated with replacing or repairing damaged hardware resulting from cyber incidents. This may include servers, computers, networking equipment, and other electronic devices that have been rendered inoperable due to malware infections or software errors.

However, businesses must carefully evaluate their cyber insurance policy. It will help in determining the breadth of their coverage, as well as any limitations or exclusions. Working with an expert insurance broker or consultant can help firms analyze their coverage requirements and guarantee adequate protection against bricking accidents.

Can you request for it to be included?

If bricking coverage is not explicitly included in your cyber insurance policy, businesses may have the option to request it as an additional endorsement or enhancement. This enables firms to adjust their coverage to their specific requirements and solve potential gaps in protection.

Requesting bricking coverage as an endorsement of your cyber insurance policy can provide additional peace of mind and financial protection against the potentially catastrophic repercussions of bricking attacks. This could include coverage for the cost of replacing or repairing bricked hardware, as well as any other expenses incurred as a result of the incident.

When considering whether to request bricking coverage, businesses should carefully assess their risk exposure and the potential financial impact of bricking incidents on their operations. Working with an expert insurance advisor can help businesses manage the complexity of cyber insurance and ensure that they have adequate coverage that is tailored to their specific needs and risk profile.

Understand bricking and if cyber insurance covers it

Bricking is a significant cybersecurity risk that businesses need to be aware of. It’s especially true in the context of cyber insurance coverage. Understanding what bricking is and how it can impact your organization is crucial for mitigating risks and ensuring adequate protection. By evaluating your cyberspace, you can better safeguard your business against the potentially devastating consequences of cyberattacks.

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