Yet Another Cyber Breach


The news of another data breach, this time at Capital One, shows that, despite some progress, we still have so very far to go to head off hackers.

A recent report found, for instance, a 23-day drop in the average "dwell time" for hackers—the amount of time that they spend in a target's systems before being discovered. That's a huge improvement. But...the average is still 78 days. You don't want hackers spending 78 minutes in your systems, let alone 78 days.

Despite a 33% increase in the costs of cybercrime since 2016, investments in cybersecurity have only risen 10%. 

No wonder premiums for cyber insurance are expected to increase 20% a year from 2014 through 2020.

Technology would seem to favor the good guys.

Something called "tokenization," for instance, holds promise. Basically, the actual, valuable data, like a Social Security number, doesn't get passed around. Only a "token" does. It gives the legitimate user access to necessary data but is of no value to a hacker.

Similarly, something called "homomorphic encryption" allows data to be transmitted and processed in the cloud while staying encrypted. 

But these, and other, data-protection schemes only work if they are deployed, along with systems that help employees avoid being duped by tactics such as phishing schemes.

How many more Capital Ones must we see before we get truly serious about protecting ourselves and our clients?


Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership.

He is also co-author of A Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993.

Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.