The rise of ransomware: What should brokers know?

It’s fast becoming one of the biggest cyber threats – what do you need to know when it comes to advising clients?

The rise of ransomware: What should brokers know?


By Lucy Hook

Ransomware attacks – in which a malicious software blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid – are a looming threat in the world of cybercrime.

Specialist insurer Beazley predicted that instances of ransomware will double in 2017, after its breach response services unit managed 1,943 data breaches on behalf of clients in 2016, up from 1,247 breaches in the previous year.

Insurance Business caught up with one of the firm’s underwriters to find out what brokers need to know about this emerging risk.

“Ransomware is the latest tactic in an ongoing war between businesses and cyber criminals,” Nick Economidis, underwriter at Beazley, said.

For the most part, cyber extortion policies currently on the market provide broad coverage of threats to prevent access to computer systems or data, as well as threats to damage, destroy, delete or corrupt data stored on a computer system, Economidis explained.

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“However, some policies that we have seen in the market limit coverage to a threat to disseminate data,” he said.
“In these cases, the policy is unlikely to respond to a ransomware incident.”

While there has been an increasing number of ransomware attacks in the last two years, Beazley anticipates that the market will remain stable, Economidis said, despite its predictions for a doubling in claims this year.

Brokers should advise their clients to “continue to be vigilant as cyber-criminal tactics change and evolve,” he said.

Procedures such as a reliable data back-up can help clients effectively respond to ransomware attacks, he added.

“Beazley urges all entities to provide training to employees to increase awareness about these types of attacks and the importance of good computing practices,” he concluded.


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