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Challenges of insuring ransomware and how to combat it

A rapid increase to cyber-crimes in the past year has recently led to the debate around ransomware payments by insurers. Some have argued that the guarantees given by insurers to pay these ransoms puts more businesses at risk in the future.

Incentivising these crimes only gives more demand to growing cyber crimes and creates more issues for businesses trying to keep themselves safe in the future.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware which locks or steals data and offers a return of this data for a price, often in the form of cryptocurrency. It is one of the largest forms of organised crime in the modern day and is one of the most regularly used against UK businesses.

Businesses are often forced to pay these ransomware attacks if their data is not backed up or do not have the time or money to rebuild their data from the ground up. It is not illegal to pay these fines, however it is advised against. The current system makes ransomware attacks a lucrative business for hackers in the modern day.

Examples of ransomware attacks

Sepa – The environmental regulations business had over 4,000 files held to ransom at the end of 2020 and after refusing to pay, these were released. The leaked files included contracts with clients and strategy documents, opening up potential legal issues for the business.

Norsk Hydro – The aluminium producer was disrupted by a ransomware attack in 2019. After refusing to pay the hacker, the rebuild cost the business £45m and reduced profits by over 80% in the fallout.

Newcastle University – In September of 2020 the University became infected with malware ransomware, stealing both backups and files. The attack meant University systems were down for both staff and students for a number of weeks, causing added disruption to learning which had moved online.

Why is insuring ransomware a problem?

Offering insurance means that there is added incentive and surety for hackers that there will be a return for their crimes. This only adds to the huge rise in cyber crimes we have seen over the past year and which has come into 2021 too.

It is now a must to ensure your business is proactively protected against cyber-attacks. To ensure your business is secure you may need outside help with planning, backups or software to ensure you are fully covered.

If there are any doubts around the security of your business, then it is time to act. Give us a call or email us at [email protected] and we can offer advice or a full review of your systems and future planning.

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