26 January 2017Insurance

Ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016, expected to double again in 2017

The number of ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016 and are expected to double again in 2017, according to findings in a report from Beazley.

Beazley suggested that organisations appear to be particularly vulnerable to attacks during IT system freezes, at the end of financial quarters and during busy shopping periods.

Intelligent Insurer previously spoke with numerous executives who cited the potential of cyber, which is considered the fastest growing line in insurance.

The variants of ransomware are evolving, Beazley suggested, which enables hackers to methodically investigate a company’s system, selectively lock the most critical files, and demand higher ransoms to get the most valuable files unencrypted.

As a provider of data breach response insurance, Beazley managed 1,943 data breaches on behalf of clients in 2016 compared to 1,247 breaches in 2015.

Analysis from these breaches revealed that not only that ransomware attacks were over four times higher in 2016 than in 2015, but the ease and effectiveness of these attack portend an even larger increase in 2017.

Unintended disclosure, most often emails or faxes sent to the wrong recipient, increased to 32 percent of all breaches in 2016, up from 24 percent in 2015.

The analysis viewed this as a serious problem, with the proliferation of criminals looking to profit from confidential information making formerly minor mistakes much more dangerous.

The report also showed that financial institution are seeing more hacking attacks, with hacks and malware accounting for 40 percent of financial institution data breaches in 2016, up from 27 percent in 2015.

Katherine Keefe, global head of BBR Services, commented: “The threat from ransomware is not only growing, but evolving to allow hackers to target vulnerable organisations and their most valuable data files and adjust ransom demands accordingly. The sustained increase in these threats in 2016 indicates that even more organisations will be attacked in 2017 and need to have incident response plans in place before they get a ransomware demand.”

For a wider view of the evolving cyber threat in 2017,  click here.

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