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Latest News Do you need cyber insurance to protect your self-drive hire business?

Do you need cyber insurance to protect your self-drive hire business?

Do you need cyber insurance to protect your self-drive hire business?

In January 2024, online data security hit the headlines as the Caravan and Motorhome Club was subjected to a significant cyber-attack. The breach resulted in the Club suffering from widespread IT outages over five days, leading some members to report it was impossible to make bookings. Worse still, members’ personal data was accessed in the attack (names and addresses but, thankfully, no banking details).

The incident took time, money, and expertise to resolve. It also put cyber-security back into the spotlight for the self-drive hire sector. As recently as 2022, car rental firm Sixt was hit by a cyber-attack. The year before that, Canadian agency Discount Car and Truck Rentals was targeted by ransomware criminals.

In the UK, the risk to businesses from cyber-attacks remains worryingly high. According to a government survey in 2023, 32% of businesses reported breaches or attacks over the previous 12 months. This costs an average of £1,100 to businesses identifying attacks or breaches. This figure rose to £4,960 for medium or large firms.

Unfortunately, businesses of any size can be targeted. What’s worrying is that many smaller companies aren’t prioritising cyber-security. Among micro businesses, the proportion saying cyber security is a high priority dropped to 68% from 80% the previous year. These statistics underscore how important cyber security and cyber insurance are to all businesses, including those in the self-drive hire sector.

What is a cyber attack?

A ‘cyber-attack’ is a term used to refer to a broad range of malicious activities targeting computer systems, networks, and data. Each poses unique risks to businesses, with the potential for severe financial and operational consequences.

The main types of cyber-attack

Cyber-attacks can take many forms, some more sophisticated and harder to prevent than others. To help you understand the potential threats to your self-drive hire business, we’ve summarised the main types of attacks and how they typically occur.

  1. Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks involve fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by posing as a trustworthy entity, such as a bank or a legal firm used by your business.

Cybercriminals often use deceptive emails, messages, or websites that mimic legitimate sources to trick individuals into revealing confidential information. This can then be sold on or used for fraud. One variant, ‘spear phishing’, involves criminals researching their target to tailor more personal and relevant messages.

  1. Ransomware attacks

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a user’s data, making it inaccessible. Attackers then demand a ransom – usually in cryptocurrency – in exchange for the decryption key. Ransomware typically spreads through infected email attachments and malicious links or by exploiting software vulnerabilities. A ransomware attack could easily bring your self-drive hire business to a grinding halt.

  1. Malware attacks

Malware, short for malicious software, is a broad category that includes various harmful programs designed to disrupt or damage computer systems. This can include viruses, worms, spyware, and trojan horses. Malware can be delivered through infected downloads, email attachments or compromised websites. Once installed, it can execute malicious actions without the user’s knowledge.

  1. Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks

DoS attacks overwhelm a system, network, or website with excessive traffic, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users. DDoS attacks involve multiple compromised devices working together to intensify the impact. Attackers use various techniques to disrupt normal functioning, such as flooding the target with traffic or exploiting vulnerabilities in network protocols.

  1. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks

In MitM attacks, an attacker intercepts and often alters the communication between two parties without their knowledge. This can lead to unauthorised access, theft, or manipulation of sensitive information. Attackers may insert themselves into a communication path by exploiting unsecured Wi-Fi networks or compromising network infrastructure.

  1. SQL injection attacks

SQL injection involves manipulating a website’s database by injecting malicious SQL code. This can lead to unauthorised access, data manipulation, or extraction of sensitive information. A data breach could have serious implications for any self-drive hire company.

  1. Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits target undisclosed vulnerabilities in software, hardware, or applications. These vulnerabilities are called “zero-day” because the attack occurs before the developers can release a fix or patch.

  1. Password attacks

Password cracking is frequently used to gain unauthorised access to information systems. This encompasses various techniques, including phishing, infiltrating password databases, making educated guesses based on user personal information, and even using a dictionary of commonly used passwords.

  1. Social media attacks

Using social media, cybercriminals can initiate attacks on businesses by impersonating genuine organisations. They achieve this by guiding individuals to malicious websites through false representations, often employing shortened URLs or enticing people to sign up for fraudulent webinars or seminars. Some criminals will impersonate customer service accounts to get your personal details, often pretending to offer ‘refunds’.


How likely is a cyber attack on your business?

Unfortunately, becoming a victim of cyber-crime is quite likely. In the introduction to this piece, we provided statistics about the number of businesses falling victim to cyber-attacks and breaches. Overall, there were 2.39 million instances of cyber-crime and approximately 49,000 instances of fraud concerning businesses.

How much could cyber-crime cost your business?

Cyber-crime can be expensive. Government figures put the annual cost of business cyber-crime at an average of £15,300 per victim. However, depending on the crime, this can be much higher and often won’t account for the longer-lasting effect of the business interruption cyber attacks can cause.

How to prevent cyber attacks

We’ve published a detailed article on protecting your business from cyber-attacks, but some of the key measures you can take include the following:

  1. Employee training. Educate staff on recognising and avoiding phishing attempts.
  2. Update systems regularly. Ensure all software and systems are updated with the latest security patches. Also, be sure to update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  3. Use strong authentication. Implement multi-factor authentication for added security.
  4. Use data encryption. Encrypted data on your network is unreadable without the correct encryption key.
  5. Have strong user control. Limit access to data and software to those who need it.
  6. Backup data. Regularly backup critical data to minimise the impact of ransomware attacks.
  7. Create a cyber-security incident plan. We talk you through this topic in our guide to cyber-security incident response planning.


Importance of cyber insurance and how it could protect your business

Businesses in the self-drive hire sector are particularly vulnerable to cyber-crime. They hold large amounts of customer data, which needs to be protected. They rely on online booking systems, which – if compromised – can bring the business to a standstill. Add to that accounting systems, specialist CRM software, and other packages a company needs to function, then cyber insurance is clearly a sound investment.

While it will not stop you from being a victim of cyber-crime, having the right insurance can assist in covering the expenses associated with:

  • Business interruption
  • Data restoration
  • Breach investigation
  • Damages related to the loss of third-party data, infringement and virus transmission
  • Crisis management and public relations to restore your business’s reputation

See our article what is cyber-insurance? to learn in more detail how it can protect your self-hire business. You can also find many useful resources on the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Aware website.


The threat of cyber-attacks is growing, making cyber insurance a valuable investment for businesses alongside their self-drive hire insurance. By understanding the risks, implementing preventive measures, and securing the right cyber insurance cover, your business can help to safeguard its operations, finances, and reputation. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take steps to protect your business from cyber threats today.