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Understanding Bricking in Cyber Insurance: Implications, Challenges, and Solutions

The Concept of Bricking in Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance has become increasingly vital for businesses and individuals in today’s interconnected world. It provides financial protection against various cyber threats, such as data breaches, ransomware attacks, and identity theft. However, one emerging concern in the realm of cyber insurance is the concept of “bricking.”

Bricking refers to a scenario where a cyber incident renders a device or system completely inoperable, essentially turning it into a “brick.” This term originated from the physical resemblance of a non-functional device to a brick. In the context of cyber insurance, bricking incidents can have severe consequences for policyholders.

The Relevance and Impact of Bricking on Businesses and Individuals

Bricking incidents can have significant ramifications for businesses and individuals seeking cyber insurance coverage. When a device or system is bricked, it not only disrupts operations but also leads to financial losses due to downtime, repair or replacement costs, and potential reputational damage.

For example, imagine a small e-commerce business that relies heavily on its website to generate revenue. If their website is bricked due to a cyber incident, they would be unable to process orders, resulting in immediate financial losses. Additionally, the business may need to spend substantial resources on repairing or replacing the affected systems.

Similarly, individuals can also suffer from bricking incidents. Imagine someone who relies on their smartphone for work, communication, and personal tasks. If their device is bricked, they may lose access to critical information, contacts, and applications, impacting their productivity and daily life.

Real-Life Examples of Bricking Incidents

Several real-life examples highlight the consequences of bricking incidents and the importance of understanding this phenomenon:

1. NotPetya Ransomware Attack:

The 2017 NotPetya ransomware attack targeted various organizations worldwide, including shipping giant Maersk. The attack caused widespread disruption, with Maersk estimating losses of up to $300 million. Many of Maersk’s systems were bricked, leading to significant operational challenges and financial consequences.

NotPetya Ransomware Attack
NotPetya Ransomware Attack

2. Tesla Model S Firmware Update:

In 2019, Tesla released a firmware update that inadvertently bricked some Model S vehicles. The update caused the vehicle’s central touchscreen display to malfunction, rendering it unusable. Tesla had to issue a subsequent update to resolve the issue, but affected owners experienced inconvenience and potential financial losses during the downtime.

Tesla Model S Firmware Update

Challenges in Addressing Bricking Incidents

Bricking incidents pose several challenges for both cyber insurance providers and policyholders:

1. Determining Coverage:

Bricking incidents may not always be explicitly covered under standard cyber insurance policies. Insurers may classify them as a form of property damage rather than a cyber incident, potentially leading to coverage disputes and delays in claims processing.

2. Valuing Losses:

Quantifying the financial losses resulting from bricking incidents can be challenging. The costs of repairing or replacing affected devices or systems, as well as the associated downtime and lost business opportunities, need to be accurately assessed to determine appropriate compensation.

3. Cybersecurity Preparedness:

Bricking incidents highlight the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and preparedness. Insurers may require policyholders to demonstrate adequate cybersecurity controls and practices to mitigate the risk of bricking. However, smaller businesses or individuals may struggle to meet these requirements, potentially limiting their access to comprehensive coverage.

Potential Solutions to Mitigate Bricking Risks

To address the challenges associated with bricking incidents in cyber insurance, various solutions can be considered:

1. Enhanced Coverage Options:

Cyber insurance providers should develop specific coverage options for bricking incidents. These options can include coverage for repair or replacement costs, business interruption losses, and reputational damage resulting from bricking. This would ensure policyholders have comprehensive protection against this emerging threat.

2. Clear Policy Language:

Insurers should use clear and unambiguous language in their policies to explicitly include or exclude coverage for bricking incidents. This would help avoid potential disputes and ensure policyholders fully understand the scope of their coverage.

3. Risk Assessment and Mitigation:

Insurers should conduct thorough risk assessments of policyholders’ cybersecurity practices to evaluate their preparedness for bricking incidents. This assessment can help identify potential vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improving cybersecurity controls. Offering incentives, such as premium discounts, for implementing recommended measures can encourage policyholders to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

4. Cybersecurity Education and Support:

Insurers can play a crucial role in promoting cybersecurity education and awareness among policyholders. By providing resources, training, and access to cybersecurity experts, insurers can help businesses and individuals better understand the risks of bricking and take proactive steps to mitigate them.

The Significance of Cyber Insurance in Mitigating Bricking Risks

Cyber insurance plays a vital role in mitigating the risks associated with bricking incidents. It provides financial protection against the potential losses and expenses resulting from bricking, enabling policyholders to recover and resume operations more quickly.

By investing in cyber insurance, businesses and individuals can transfer the financial burden of bricking incidents to the insurer, reducing their exposure to potentially crippling financial losses. This allows organizations and individuals to focus on recovering from the incident and implementing necessary cybersecurity measures to prevent future bricking incidents.


In today’s digital landscape, the concept of bricking poses a significant risk for businesses and individuals seeking cyber insurance coverage. Understanding the implications, challenges, and potential solutions related to bricking is crucial for effectively managing this emerging threat.

Bricking incidents can have severe consequences, leading to operational disruptions, financial losses, and reputational damage. However, by working closely with cyber insurance providers and adopting robust cybersecurity practices, organizations and individuals can mitigate the risks associated with bricking.


1. Is bricking covered under standard cyber insurance policies?

Bricking incidents may not always be explicitly covered under standard cyber insurance policies. Insurers may classify them as property damage rather than a cyber incident, leading to coverage disputes. It is essential to review policy language carefully or consider enhanced coverage options.

2. How can businesses and individuals protect themselves from bricking incidents?

To protect against bricking incidents, businesses and individuals should implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as regular software updates, strong access controls, and data backups. Additionally, investing in comprehensive cyber insurance coverage can provide financial protection in the event of a bricking incident.

3. Can cyber insurance providers help improve cybersecurity practices?

Yes, cyber insurance providers can assist policyholders in improving their cybersecurity practices. They can conduct risk assessments, provide resources and training, and offer incentives for implementing recommended measures. By working closely with insurers, businesses and individuals can enhance their cybersecurity posture.

4. What other cyber threats does cyber insurance cover?

Cyber insurance covers a wide range of cyber threats, including data breaches, ransomware attacks, business email compromise, identity theft, and network intrusion. The coverage may include financial compensation for losses, legal expenses, notification and credit monitoring services, and reputational damage management.

5. Is cyber insurance necessary for small businesses and individuals?

Yes, cyber insurance is necessary for small businesses and individuals. Small businesses are often targeted by cybercriminals due to their potentially weaker cybersecurity defenses. Similarly, individuals face risks such as identity theft and financial fraud. Cyber insurance provides financial protection and peace of mind in the event of a cyber incident.

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