Ransomware victims have paid out more than $25 million in the past two years, according to a new study by Google, Chainalysis, UC San Diego and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. The study reviewed 34 separate families and discovered that a particularly harmful strain, Locky, received more than $7 million in payments. Ransomware, which infects and locks a system until payment has been received, has become “an almost unavoidable threat” over the past few years. It’s shown to be popular amongst cybercriminals, who often demand payment in the form of bitcoin. Two ransomware attacks made earlier this year by WannaCry and NotPetya had been “deemed destructive in nature,” Forbes writes, but only received $140,000 and $10,000, respectively.
A viable solution to this sort of threat? A good Cyber Liability insurance policy will pay extortion expenses and extortion monies as a direct result of a credible cyber extortion threat. This is only one of the many areas a Cyber Liability insurance policy can help.
Cyber insurance can be essential in helping your company recover after a data breach, with costs that can include business disruption, revenue loss, equipment damages, legal fees, public relations expenses, forensic analysis and costs associated with legally mandated notifications. A lesser-known benefit of cyber insurance is the role it can play in protecting your company long before a breach occurs.
This October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, an event co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in order to raise awareness of the importance of cyber security issues. While the event is designed to highlight some of the nation’s cyber security precautions, as well as how to be prepared in the event of a national cyber security incident, much of the focus is on good cyber security practices for the average individual.
Specifically, the groups are trying to promote their “Stop. Think. Connect.” and Stay Safe Online campaigns—efforts that teach good cyber security in terms everyone can understand. In order to encourage your employees to practice good cyber security, review the following lessons with them:
- Password Security: More powerful computers have given criminals the ability to crack passwords easily. Passwords with a mix of capitalized and lowercase letters—as well as numbers, symbols and other special characters—are much harder to crack. And, though it should go without saying, make sure your employees don’t write their passwords down in plain sight in their work spaces.
- Phishing Scams: A number of different scams could fall into this category, but they all have commonalities that your employees should be aware of. Never open an email from an unknown source, and never click on a link in an email unless both the sender and the link can be trusted.
- Software Updates: Security patches are designed to fix known vulnerabilities. Make sure your employees download the latest security patches when they become available.
Those wishing to participate in this year’s activities can find a number of resources available online, or contact me for further cyber security materials.
This past Wednesday I was part of a panel for an educational workshop to discuss innovative ways to protect small businesses from cyber crime.
On the panel was an FBI Special Agent who shared FBI insights on fighting cyber crime. Akilah Kamaria from Blue Fields Digital Intelligence shared strategies organizations can use to prepare for and respond to a cyber incident. I shared information on cyber liability and data breach insurance and its role in helping to protect companies from cyber crime losses.
Special thanks to Akilah Kamaria for allowing inviting me to participate. Also, to Gal-A Photography for the professional photos:
Thank you for putting on such an important and great event!