According to Advisen, a leading provider of data, media, and technology solutions for the commercial property and casualty insurance market, ransomware has risen exponentially in 2019. In fact, ransomware made up 25% of all cyber incidents the organization tracked in Q3.
This information and more was shared during Advisen’s Q3 edition of their quarterly Cyber Risk Trends webinar. Panellists included Ryan Gibney of Lockton, Kimberly Horn of Beazley and Anthony Hess of Kivu. The moderator was Advisen’s Erin Ayers.
Image credit: Advisen Ltd.
Kimberly Horn stated that Beazley has noticed an increase of more than 35% in ransomware events, with over 60% of incidents reported by small businesses. Anthony Hess added that, according to Kivu’s data over the past five years, the complexity of ransomware has increased. Ransomware has also become much more sophisticated – simple ransomware scripts have given way to complex attack strategies. This means risk management has necessarily become more complex as well.
All panellists agreed that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting corporate assets with ransomware attacks. Advisen data charts the evolution of the trend – moving from PII to corporate assets over the past five years.
Image credit: Advisen Ltd
Ryan Gibney noted that the motivation of cyber criminals had shifted from simply stealing and monetizing IP or data to also include destruction out of political motivation. Ransomware, however, continues to be primarily driven by money, while of course always carrying the threat of destruction with it.
A member of the audience posed the question of whether companies should set up a bitcoin wallet to pay or facilitate payments of ransoms. The consensus among panellists was ‘No’, because the matter is much more complex than simply having fast access to bitcoin. The currency is volatile, and with comparatively easy access to bitcoin brokers and negotiators who facilitate payment on third parties’ behalf, the hassle of managing a bitcoin wallet does not pay off. Anthony Hess added that governments and regulators are starting to pay a lot of attention to bitcoin payments – there are instances of corporate accounts being frozen due to suspected unlawful transfers. If a company does set up a bitcoin wallet, it remains important to run appropriate checks and ensure regulatory compliance at every turn.
Ransom amounts are increasing significantly
Ransom demand amounts are increasing significantly, and according to Ryan Gibney some companies have had ransom demands has high as $10M. Not only that, but Advisen has noted that ransomware is targeting different industries and sectors this year compared to 2018:
Image credit: Advisen Ltd.
Another question posed to the panel – do companies need an Incident response plan or a business continuity plan? Both are needed, noted Kimberly Horn. Anthony agreed, adding that if hundreds of machines are down due to an incident, companies need to know how to continue running their operations while the incident is being addressed.
To learn more about risk management and how to prepare against ransomware attacks, watch the full webinar on the Advisen website.