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Cyber Exposures Soar During Pandemic

​Although it is logical that cyberattacks have risen during the pandemic—and there is anecdotal evidence that it is occurring, including our own experience—an interesting new report on the number and effect of the cyberattacks was recently released by Allianz, which provides cyber liability insurance products.

According to the report, “While the COVID-19 outbreak cannot be said to be a direct cause of cyber-related claims, exposures have been rising during the pandemic, particularly with regards to ransomware and business e-mail compromise incidents, given the increase in remote working and the likelihood that security safeguards may not be as robust in the home office.”

The report analyzes the cause of loss by value of claims and the number of claims, finding 1,736 claims worth $770 million from 2015-2020. The analysis shows that external manipulation of computer systems (i.e., DDOS or phishing/malware/ransomware) is the most expensive, “but the analysis also shows that more mundane technical failures, IT glitches or human error incidents are the most frequent generator of claims.”

The report also states that “Whether it results from an external cyber-attack, human error or a technical failure, business interruption is the main cost driver behind cyber claims. It accounts for around 60 percent of the value of all claims analyzed with the costs associated with dealing with data breaches ranking second.”

The number one threat cited in the report is lax security post COVID-19. Since the migration to working from home, the report states that “malware and ransomware incidents have already increased by more than a third, at the same time as a 50 percent increase in phishing, scams, and fraud, according to international police body, INTERPOL.”

The report further reinforces the need for companies to address the increased risk that accompanies a remote workforce, boost employee education and engagement, and provide employees with tools to protect themselves and their employer’s data. As the report aptly states: “Employers and employees must work together to raise awareness and increase cyber resilience in the home office set up.”

Linn Foster Freedman is a partner in the Providence, R.I., office of law firm Robinson & Cole LLP (Robinson+Cole). © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved. Republished from the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog with permission.

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