Cyber Risks in the Construction Industry

02 November 2017

Cyber crime has shifted from intangible assets to the physical realm. Construction companies have become an attractive target for cyber criminals.

Regardless of how big or small the company, chances are you store valuable information—information cyber criminals can use for personal gain. Hackers are just as interested in proprietary information; with just one data breach construction companies can lose their competitive advantage.

In order to protect your business and customers, it is imperative to learn about the common cyber risks in the construction industry.

Loss of Files and Personal Information

In order to make business more streamlined, most construction companies store some type of personal information. The files and data kept on hand is particularly vulnerable and a common target for hackers.

The average contractor stores and transmits sensitive information such as employee records, customer lists, bid data and financial records. Criminals can easily use this information to steal identities and credit card information. They could even ransom these files against a firm, blocking your access and demanding large sums for their release.

In addition, contractors often have login credentials for systems outside of their immediate control. If these contractors are hacked or decide to use their credentials for malicious purposes, your firm could be held liable.

Loss of Proprietary Data

One of the greatest assets a construction firm has is proprietary corporate data. At any given time, your organization could be holding valuable information related to privileged contracts, architectural designs and intellectual property.

In some cases, you could lose this information to cyber criminals without a breach ever occurring. This type of theft can occur through social engineering and phishing schemes, which are strategies criminals use to entice employees into transferring corporate funds or assets.

Infrastructure Exposures

As technology advances, buildings are becoming more connected. Smart technologies allow businesses and homeowners to automate processes that control a variety of systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security.

While these new advancements are a major leap forward and provide your clients with opportunities to lower their costs and increase their efficiency, they also create cyber exposures. When hackers gain control of a connected building, they can access things like IP addresses, security codes, automated building processes and camera footage.

In some cases, construction firms that provide smart technologies to their clients may be liable for any damage done by cyber criminals long after work is completed. At the very least, organizations that install products that negatively impact the privacy and security of customers could face serious reputational damage.

Be Proactive in Reducing Your Cyber Risk

In addition to the unique risks listed above, construction firms are subject to the same cyber exposures as the average business. Financial loss, business interruption and third-party liability are very real after-effects of a data breach, and your firm needs to be ready.

The best way to protect your firm from cyber exposures is with cyber liability insurance. These policies can and should be customized to meet your specific needs.

Please contact Martin Delaney, SVP and Leader, Cyber and Risk Management Services at ClientFirst@jltcanada.com, to learn more about cyber risks in the construction industry and what types of protection are available to you.