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Cyber extortion - ransomware and payment of ransoms

Cyber Risk Management|Medioambiental
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By Glyn Thoms | July 5, 2022

This article is from our Directors and Officers Liability survey 2022 and discusses cyber extortion

Cyber risk is still ranked as the most significant risk facing directors and officers, but this year, we asked people also to comment on cyber extortion and it has immediately been ranked in the top four risks across all regions, company revenue sizes and industries.

The concerns around cyber extortion are undoubtedly driven by the surge in ransomware attacks over the last 24 months, the majority of which have included the demand for an extortion payment. Ransomware has become a low investment, low risk and high reward method of cybercrime which organisations cannot ignore. Looking at our WTW Claims Insight Data – where we have reviewed more than 2,000 claims’ across our portfolio – we have seen a 200% increase in ransomware claims notifications under cyberinsurance policies since 2019.

200% increase in ransomware claims notifications under cyberinsurance policies since 2019

From an industry sector perspective, our data shows the top three industry sectors impacted by ransomware attacks are healthcare, manufacturing and education. In 2021, we also saw a shift in tactics from the cybercriminals, including one of the first major attacks against critical infrastructure, the highly publicized Colonial Pipeline attack. As a result, governments and regulators have been alerted to ransomware and extortion activity.

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