Cybercriminals now target ‘trade secrets’ of companies

Out of the 100 representatives from different organisations surveyed from India, 29% said they had suffered a security breach and this number has increased from 19% in 2008

New Delhi: After chasing personal information of individuals world over, cybercriminals are now targeting the trade secrets of well-known global organizations including those in India as they see greater value in selling a corporation’s proprietary information to competitors and foreign governments, reports PTI.

“Cybercriminals are now focusing on trade secrets of global companies. Sophisticated attacks like Operation Aurora, and even unsophisticated attacks like Night Dragon, have infiltrated some of the largest, and seemingly most protected corporations in the world,” says Simon Hunt, VP and chief technology officer, endpoint security at McAfee.

The report ‘Underground Economies: Intellectual Capital and Sensitive Corporate Data Now the Latest Cybercrime Currency’, has been prepared by security technology company McAfee and Science Applications International Corporation, a scientific, engineering, and technology applications company in USA.

More than 1,000 senior IT decision makers in India, US, UK, Japan, China, Brazil and the Middle East were surveyed for it. Out of the 100 representatives from different organisations surveyed from India, 29% said they had suffered a security breach and this number has increased from 19% in 2008.

32% of the Indian respondents said they only occasionally take steps to remediate and protect systems for the future after a breach or attempted breach. 11% of them said their organisations accrued a loss between $0-$500,000 while 27% indicated a loss between $500,000-$1,000,000 due to loss of sensitive information or intellectual property.

40% Indian respondents indicated that data breach or threat of a data breach affected their merger and acquisition plans and 26% said it affected their product roll-out.

Two years ago, McAfee produced the ‘Unsecured Economies Report’, which found that businesses companies worldwide lost more than an estimated $1 trillion in 2008 due to data leaks, the cost of remediation and reputational damage.

Not only do companies have to worry about competitors stealing intellectual capital, but they have to worry about sensitive or even classified information that could be leaked to media, as in the case of WikiLeaks, adds the report.

In 2006, a laptop of an Indian official working with a top technical intelligence gathering agency went missing from his car and it is believed to be having important data on country’s nuclear arsenal and missile system.

“Most of the current technologies use the preloaded algorithms to sense any anomaly. However, the cybercriminals are far superior in terms of their technical capability and they can identify ways and means to break the systems,” says Dinesh Pillai, CEO, Mahindra SSG, a leading corporate security risk consulting firm in India.

According to Scott Aken, vice president for cyber operations at SAIC, “The distinction between insiders and outsiders is blurring. Sophisticated attackers infiltrate a network, steal valid credentials on the network, and operate freely—just as an insider would.”

The report suggests advanced malware analysis and forensics and insider threat tools to interrupt connections if data is inappropriately being removed, as the solutions to check the cybercriminals. Mr Aken advises that the companies should know clearly what needs to be protected.

“Most organizations spend enormous sums of money protecting the less critical portions of their network while the crown jewels, their intellectual capital, remain wide open. The thorough analysis of what lies on the network, combined with a solid defence in depth strategy, all implemented by a properly trained staff can do wonders for protecting an organization’s data,” says Mr Aken.


ED moves SC for contempt proceedings against Sahara chief

The petition filed by ED investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh alleged that the notice was served to Mr Roy to appear before it relating to a Rs150 crore transaction suspected to be linked to the 2G spectrum scam

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today moved the Supreme Court seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Sahara group CMD Subrato Roy for allegedly interfering into the investigation of the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, reports PTI.

The petition filed by ED investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh alleged that the notice was served to Mr Roy to appear before it relating to a Rs150 crore transaction suspected to be linked to the 2G spectrum scam.

The petition mentioned before a bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly alleged that Mr Roy did not appear before the ED and tried to blackmail the investigating officer.

The petition also named some of the journalists of the television channel, Sahara Samay.

The petition was mentioned by senior advocate KK Venugopal and the bench will hear it at 2pm.


ICICI Lombard’s financials are hit hard due to high claims incurred in all its segments

ICICI Lombard’s 2010-11 audited financial results have been a revelation. The company, India’s largest private sector general insurance firm, had clocked profits in all divisions of its business in the last fiscal, but has now reported losses in all its segments. Is this a sign of the challenges that general insurance companies are now facing?

ICICI Lombard, which had clocked Rs143.93 crore in profit after tax for 2009-10, has declared losses of Rs80.34 crore for 2010-11 (after setting aside Rs2 crore for tax provision).

This is indeed a setback for the largest private sector general insurance company. The poor performance has happened due to the high claims incurred in all its segments. Is it a problem with insurance underwriting? ICICI Lombard's premiums are not on the lower side, when compared to new entrants in the insurance market. Does it mean that other private insurance companies may be headed towards similar problems? On the other hand, government insurers are also struggling due to high losses in the general insurance sector.

It is surprising that every segment of business that had reported profits for the company has now reported a loss. The 'fire' segment had operating profit of Rs5.12 crore in 2009-10, but has now reported Rs27.07 crore in operating losses for 2010-11. 'Marine' had operating profit of Rs5.25 crore in 2009-10, but now has Rs22.20 crore in operating losses in 2010-11. 'Miscellaneous' had operating profit of Rs4.78 crore in 2009-10, but has Rs131.36 crore in operating losses for 2010-11.

The claims incurred (net) for the 'fire' segment increased from Rs65.81 crore in 2009-10 to Rs112.21 crore in 2010-11. 'Marine' had increase in net claims incurred from Rs26.68 crore in 2009-10 to Rs47.22 crore in 2010-11, while the 'miscellaneous' category had a jump from Rs1,855.89 crore to Rs2,571.21 crore for net claims incurred in the same period.

Rohan Dukle, director, Magus Corporate Advisors, told Moneylife, "With total de-tariffing of the non-life industry post-2006, resulting in major price wars in hitherto profitable segments such as fire, engineering and so on, there is increased pressure on the bottom-lines of insurers. This factor, coupled with lower ceding commissions has resulted in tremendous pressure on insurers, forcing them to reconsider pricing. With the constant entry of new players in the non-life segment, this pressure is not expected to reduce immediately."

ICICI Lombard's retail insurance products include Car Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance, Two-Wheeler Insurance and Home Insurance. It has almost 25% market share among private insurers. Its overall market share (including government insurers) is about 10%.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Corporation is the largest private sector general insurance company in India with a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs4,251.87 crore for the year ended 31 March 2011. The company had healthy increase in GWP by 29.04% from Rs3,295.06 crore in 2009-10.

The company is a 74:26 joint venture between ICICI Bank Limited, India's second largest bank (with consolidated total assets of over $100 billion as of 31 March 2010) and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a Canada based $30 billion diversified financial services company engaged in general insurance, reinsurance, insurance claims management and investment management.



Nagesh KiniFCA

5 years ago

Raj The write up on ICICI Lombard financials needs elaboration on its Health Insurance sector that all claim to be "bleeding".
Both motor for years and now health continue to bleed on account of rampant malpractices in fraudulent claims and extremely flawed tariff structures.
Health which is of a more recent origin in India, follows a knee jerk premium policy as is seen with Reliance hiking it by 500% in the wake of high claims and IRDA feigning ignorance.
IRDA is a toothless watchdog that can neither bark or bite!
It is time it wakes out of its slumber and defers the so-called portability to Jan 2012 after subjecting it to objective debate and discussion by seeking objections and suggestions. The present one is extremely half baked and anti-consumer and needs to be put on hold.

manish kapoor

5 years ago

ICICI Lombard had clocked in a robust Rs 210 crores as net profit in the first nine months of FY2011. The loss in Q4 is almost entirely attributable to the Rs 272 crores in additional provision that the company made pursuant to an IRDA order in march 2011 requiring all
general insurance companies to provide for motor pool losses at a
provisional loss ratio of 153% for all years commencing from the year
ended March 31, 2008, compared to the earlier loss ratios of 122-127%.

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