21.09.2012 New insurance offers protection against social media hacks

It had to happen.

Just as the explosion of  digital media gave rise to the launch of download insurance – protecting against the loss of MP3 files, images and e-books stored on personal hardware – the insurance industry has finally woken up to the potential of insuring us against the risks posed by using social media.

In collaboration with Legal Insurance Management, privacy firm Allow has launched the country’s first social media insurance product, specifically to protect against reputational damage, account jacking and ID theft conducted via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

So what cover do you get for your very reasonable-sounding £3.99 a month? In a nutshell:

–  Legal advice and support if you suffer an online attack and would like to seek some form of redress, with dedicated caseworkers and online experts that will locate, remove, or hide, the offending material.

– Up to £10,000 in professional fees and ancillary costs for any one incident in respect of identity theft or account jacking, or £3,500 in respect of any reputational damage.

– The cost of disabling accounts or suppressing offensive material.

– Stopping any legal action triggered by hacking e.g. if a hacker posts illegal material under a hacking victim’s name.

A recent survey found that young Internet users are highly concerned about their ability to control the use of their name, image or other aspects of their online identity. The Chartered Insurance Institute found that more than half of young people (56%) are interested in protecting personal image rights through insurance cover, and that more than a quarter (26%) would consider social media insurance to safeguard their reputation.

With a recent report from Norton warning that hackers are moving into the mobile and social space, is it about time we had the option of insuring ourselves against the risk of reputation damage on social media sites?

Or is this just another money-making swiz by the insurance industry?

There is, of course, the argument that we shouldn’t have to pay to have our social media accounts protected. Isn’t it the duty of providers such as Facebook and Twitter to sufficiently protect accounts?

After all, it’s not as if they don’t make enough money from their hundreds of millions of dedicated users.

We asked David Jones, Director of Cardiff and London-based cyber security consultancy Westgate, for his thoughts.

He said:

“Every  social media user faces the risk that a digital criminal will target them through their account, or that they will suffer damage to their reputation following a hacking incident.

“It was only a matter of time before the insurance industry sharpened its act and developed products aimed at consumers worried by this prospect.

|”It’s likely that we will see further product launches over coming years as more insurers wake up to the potential offered by other cyber-related risks such as financial loss from consumer e-crime and the loss of intellectual property as a result of hacking.”

So what do you think?

Would you be tempted to take out this insurance? Or is it a waste of money, with plenty of better ways to protect your social media accounts?

Let us know your thoughts.