Private Equity PortCos being Targeted by Cyber Criminals

Private Equity Portco

As national law enforcement starts to pay more attention to the headline-grabbing ransom events that affect the entire country (e.g., Colonial Pipeline), cyber-criminals have learned to focus on PE-back mid-market companies, where there is less national scrutiny and almost no regional recourse.

Now their focus now appears to be on PE and their portfolios. The logic is that while the portco may not previously have had insurance or the balance sheet to pay the ransom, now that they are PE-backed, the holding company will find a way to make the payment.  And not surprisingly, there is a direct relationship between PE deal announcements and an increased risk of portco targeting by cybercriminals.  Even more disturbing, if these criminals are lucky with one portco, they will almost always target the other portcos under the assumption that they are all equally poorly equipped to respond.  In response, progress PE organizations are starting to realize that cyber portco risk is an issue that must be addressed by PE at the portfolio level in an enterprise approach, and not be left up to the individual portcos to address.  While risk can be bought down relatively quickly with portfolio blanket insurance policies and standardized portco-wide risk assessments in which the cyber risk is aggregated and addressed by PE, issues related to cost allocation and individual portco resourcing are still challenging. For more information on how BW Cyber Services can assist you, please contact us at


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