Ransomware Attacks Quadrupled in 2016; Expected to Double in 2017: Beazley

Specialty insurer Beazley, which offers data breach response insurance, said its specialized breach response unit saw ransomware attacks quadruple in 2016 and the insurer projects they will double again in 2017.

Nearly half of these attacks occurred in the healthcare sector, according to the Beazley Breach Insights – January 2017 findings.

The Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services unit found that organizations appear to be particularly vulnerable to attacks during IT system freezes, at the end of financial quarters and during busy shopping periods.

“The threat from ransomware is not only growing, but evolving to allow hackers to target vulnerable organizations and their most valuable data files and adjust ransom demands accordingly,” said Katherine Keefe, global head of BBR Services. “The sustained increase in these threats in 2016 indicates that even more organizations will be attacked in 2017 and need to have incident response plans in place before they get a ransomware demand.”

Beazley’s BBR Services division managed 1,943 data breaches on behalf of clients in 2016 compared to 1,247 breaches in 2015.

Evolving ransomware variants enable hackers to methodically investigate a company’s system, selectively lock the most critical files, and demand higher ransoms to get the most valuable files unencrypted, according to Beazley’s team.

Analysis of breaches handled by Beazley in 2016 revealed:

Source: Beazley Breach Insights – January 2017