New Cybersecurity Report Highlights A Growing Epidemic: Ransomware!

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We all know how the first half of 2020 fell prey to the global COVID-19 pandemic. But there is something else that caused severe damages in the same time period as well.

We are talking about security threats and ransomware in particular. 

In a newly surfaced report that has been published by Coalition, a cyber insurance and security company, it is highlighted that ransomware accounting for a whopping 41% of cyber insurance claims filed in 1H 2020.

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The insights in the report have been derived from 5,000 small and midsize organizations Coalition is currently serving across the United States and Canada. The report paints a brutally honest picture of how the severity of cybersecurity threats are evolving over time.

In the report, the firm highlights how COVID-19 has been responsible for the surge in the number of cyberattacks as well. As many organisations during this pandemic opted for working remotely, cybercriminals are finding it easy to exploit the mass uncertainty and fear that this pandemic situation brought on.

Coalition observed that the average ransom demand amongst their policyholders increased by concerning 100% from 2019 through Q1 2020, and then went on to further balloon by another 47% from Q1 to Q2 2020 when COVID-19 started spreading globally.

Source: Coalition

The report underlines some of the much-needed specifics about the different types of ransomware that are currently doing the rounds in the US. For instance, Coalition spotted how some newer strains of ransomware are more malicious than the usual ones. 

Then there are the ones which demand very huge ransoms with the cybercriminals threatening to expose the organisation’s data in case of non-payment.

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Coalition also highlights how, among all other types of ransomware, the one known as ‘Maze’ has been observed to have a higher average demand which is 6 times larger than the overall average demand of other ransomware.

Source: Coalition

Now, when it comes frauds related to funds transfer and social engineering, since the beginning of the pandemic, Coalition reported a 35% increase in claims filed by their policyholders. 

Losses from these types of attacks were observed to be ranging from anywhere between low thousands to well over $1 million per event. 

The report has also depicted how the COVID-19 pandemic saw a notable surge in business emails being compromised as well. A 67% increase in the number of email attacks was recorded during the first half of 2020.

The cybersecurity and insurance firm broke down the most frequent types of loss which accounted for 87% of reported incidents and 84% of claims payouts in the first half of 2020 in the following categories – ransomware at 41%, funds transfer loss at 27% and incidents which included the compromise of business emails at 19%.

Source: Coalition

Increased Cyber Attacks During H1 2020: Causes

Undoubtedly, the increasing number of ransomware attacks and cases paints quite a worrisome picture, especially when the situation is far from getting back to normal.

It’s important to take a look at factors that led to to the increased cyber-attacks and claims. Coalition’s report highlights a few of those important ones everyone must pay attention to:

  • As most organisations pivoted to remote work in a hurry, a lot of loopholes emerged in the areas of remote accessibility which ransomware incidents found easy to exploit.
  • For frauds related to funds transfer, attackers used various techniques to exploit their prey. Email intrusion, invoice manipulation, and domain spoofing were observed to be some of the most commonly used methods.
  • For attacks related to business email compromise, organizations which used Microsoft Outlook for email experienced 3 times more exploitation when compared to the ones which used Gmail from Google.

Not long ago we reported about how a city came under the grip of cybercriminals and ended up paying the ransom to get back to normality.

All in all, if one has to pinpoint the primary cause of it all, it simply boils down to human error. Thus, it is crucial to educate oneself about different security measures and how they can be deployed in order to keep the various devices we use on a day-to-day basis protected from all the cybercriminals out there.

Do you think that ransomware attacks have become the most favourite ammunition of cybercriminals in the era of internet and mobile, while the world is still underestimating the damages it could cause in future? Do let us know your views in the comment section below.

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