Ransomware rises 25% in Q1 2020, says Beazley Breach Response

Specialist insurer Beazley has reported a 25% spike in ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2020 versus Q4 2019, based on incidents reported to in-house breach response team Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services.

While nearly all industries reported incidents, the manufacturing sector was the hardest hit with a 156% increase in incidents quarter-over-quarter.

Although manufacturing saw the biggest rise in ransomware incidents, the most affected sectors continue to be financial services and healthcare, which together accounted for half of all ransomware attacks reported to Beazley in the first quarter.

The company said ransomware attacks against vendors and managed service providers (MSPs) continued to pose problems in Q1 2020, and not only for the targeted business but often their downstream clients, too. 

Banks and credit unions and healthcare organisations were particularly hard hit as a result of attacks against MSPs.

Beazley said as attack groups turned their attention to ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) incidents reported to Beazley declined 16% in the first quarter as compared to the previous quarter. 

It said the issue has “certainly not gone away”, a possible reason for the decline may be that fewer email compromises have been identified and reported due to the disruption caused by Covid-19.

However, research shows that phishing attacks have “soared” during lockdown, according to security awareness training experts, KnowBe4. 

Katherine Keefe commented: “Cyber criminals prey on people’s heightened anxiety during this pandemic, tricking them into clicking and sharing links that steal information. 

“Also, those working from home may have weaker IT security that corporate networks typically provide. Organisations must ensure their security systems and protocols are up to date and ensure that working from home colleagues are extra vigilant.”

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