China leads Asia with $60bn in estimated cyber losses annually

China espionage spy cyber

Local Chinese businesses are at “ground zero” when it comes to cyber security, according to one insurance broking chief executive.

Lockton Singapore boss Peter Jackson says local players are “not aware” of the risks they are leaving themselves exposed to, and are more vulnerable to breaches than many other parts of the world.

“Their insurance policy purchasing is also pretty weak – even in quite big businesses – and a lot of that is because many of those businesses have grown organically very quickly and their sophistication in risk management isn’t as strong as it ought to be and it’s having to catch up,” he told StrategicRISK.

Jackson said that catch-up will be largely driven by regulation.

But with the Chinese government’s alleged hacks of global government databases, many commentators believe data breach notification laws are far from the agenda.

Jackson, however, disagrees.

He said: “From a business point of view, whether one government is hacking another government is purely irrelevant. If [cyber attacks] start to hurt Chinese business and Chinese interests then [the government] will put focus there.”

Recent studies have also shown that the region is also more vulnerable to cyber breaches than many others.

China leads Asia with $60bn in estimated cyber losses annually, while India is a distant second at $4bn, according to recent report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.

“China is as vulnerable to hacking as anywhere else. If [criminals] can see advantage in stealing records, information, money, extortion off Chinese business then they’ll do it – there’s no difference between a Chinese firm or any other,” Jackson said.

Jackson said all firms in the region needed to beef up their cyber security systems and test their systems and those of third parties on which they’re reliant.