Cyber-insurance sir? That'll do nicely...

dollars

You can now insure your Web site against falling victim to cyber-extortion by hackers, it seems.

According to Time magazine, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old Web entrepreneur was recently dismayed to receive a $50,000 ransom demand after hackers had apparently hijacked his Web portal and crippled it with a flood of data.

Time says that, if Tew had had insurance in place, they would have paid out compensation for the hacking incursion. The insurer probably wouldn't have paid out the ransom, but at least he the losses caused by the portal's down time would have been compensated for.

I never realised this, but there are two aspects to cyber-insurance: first-party coverage helps companies recover losses owing to, say, a network outage.

Many first-party policies, in fact, are now starting to cover payments to hackers holding a Web site or customer data hostage.

The second aspect is third-party liability, which covers the legal expenses etc., that may result if someone sues over the Web portal or computer system in question.

The $64,000 question - if you'll pardon the pun - is how much cyber insurance costs. Time says that premiums - in the US - start at $7,500 for a mid-sized company of up to $25 million in sales.

Which is not that bad when you work it all out...