Bliznetsov /
10 January 2019Insurance

Hiscox stages ‘real world’ cyber attack on bike shop to illustrate risks

Re/insurer Hiscox took a novel approach to raising awareness around the risk of cyber attacks – and thus the importance of cyber insurance – in a guerrilla marketing stunt held in the UK this week.

The insurer staged a ‘real world’ cyber hack of bike manufacturer Brompton whereby it created a clone of its existing London-based store across the road from its real one overnight, hired look-a-like staff to work in it and stocked the shelves with counterfeit merchandise.

It then launched a series of cyber attack simulations on the genuine Brompton store in Shoreditch.

Common hacking techniques such as ransomware and phishing were brought to life through a series of simulated offline attacks; the real store was boarded up, displaying a ransom note demanding Bitcoin in exchange for re-entry; genuine stock deliveries were diverted to the fake ‘3rompton' store, highlighting the potential effects of a phishing scam; finally the real Brompton store was flooded with imitation customers overwhelming staff, simulating a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

The stunt was to raise awareness of the risks of cyber crime to businesses. According to the insurer, one in three (33 percent) of UK small businesses have suffered a cyber breach and this simulation is the latest initiative in its cyber awareness campaign, set-up to highlight this risk.

James Brady, head of cyber at Hiscox, said: "The frequency and severity of cyber attacks on UK businesses is alarming. Cyber criminals are swift, sophisticated and consider businesses of all shapes and sizes worthy targets so it's vital that organisations are both aware of these risks and prepared to manage them.

"Businesses need to take ownership of their cyber security and put solid preventative measures in place. Unfortunately attacks will still get through and being prepared for those attacks is critical."

Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ and special advisor to Hiscox, commented: "Cyber crime is one of the biggest security risks facing businesses today but many aren't taking it seriously and many more are underprepared. It's a less tangible risk than burglary or a fire which can make it hard for businesses to grasp, so bringing cyber crime to life with an exercise like this is a useful way of conveying an important message.

"The hacking techniques being simulated such as ransomware and phishing are extremely commonplace and have been for many years. At the same time, new types of cyber crime continue to emerge, which makes staying on top of cyber security an ever-evolving challenge."

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Elliot Field at or Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

15 January 2019   Mondelez, the US food company that owns the Oreo and Cadbury brands, is suing Zurich Insurance for refusing to pay out on a $100 million claim for damage caused by the NotPetya cyber attack in what is seen as the first major legal dispute over how companies recover the costs of a cyber-attack.
30 January 2019   A severe global ransomware attack could cost as much as $193bn and affect more than 600,000 businesses worldwide, yet only 14 percent of this cost is insured, research has revealed.
27 March 2019   Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro, which suffered a severe ransomware attack last week, has estimated that total losses from the incident have already reached 300-350 Norwegian crowns (nearly $40 million).