Specialist insurer Beazley has reported a 25 percent spike in ransomware attacks in Q1 2020 versus Q4 2019, based on incidents reported to its in-house breach response team, Beazley Breach Response Services (BBRS).
Phishing attacks have also risen during the lockdown, Beazley said, referring to data from security awareness training company KnowBe4.
The manufacturing sector saw the biggest increases in ransomware attacks, Beazley said, reporting a 156 percent increase in incidents quarter-on-quarter.
However, nearly all industries reported incidents. Despite the rapid increase in attacks on manufacturing industries, financial services and healthcare remain the most affected sectors. Together, the two accounted for half of all ransomware attacks reported to Beazley in Q1.
Beazley noted ransomware attacks cause problems not only for the targeted business but often their downstream clients, too. Banks, credit unions and healthcare organisations were particularly hard hit as a result of attacks against managed service providers.
The rise in ransomware attacks came with a fall in business email compromise (BEC) incidents, which declined 16 percent in Q1 compared to the previous quarter. Beazley said BEC incidents have not gone away, but may be being reported less frequently due to COVID-19 disruption.
Katherine Keefe, head of BBRS, said: “Cyber criminals are preying 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 than corporate networks typically provide. Organizations must ensure their security systems and protocols are up to date and ensure that colleagues working from home are extra vigilant.”
Beazley, Breach Response Services, Katherine Keefe, Ransomware, KnowBe4