Cyber Insurance Claims Surge Amid COVID-19

Hilary Tuttle

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October 1, 2020

According to the H1 2020 Cyber Insurance Claims Report by cyber insurance and security firm Coalition, cyberattacks have increased in both volume and severity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, policyholders most frequently filed claims related to ransomware (41%), funds transfer loss (27%) and business email compromise (19%). Average payment demands in ransomware cases increased 100% from 2019 through the first quarter of 2020, most often exploiting remote access to spread newer, more malicious strains of ransomware that demand higher payments.

The pandemic-related shift to remote work has also offered more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack with email-based threats and social engineering. Cyber insurance claims increased 35% for funds transfer fraud (when fraudulent instructions are sent to a business’s financial institution) and social engineering, with cases most frequently involving email intrusion, invoice manipulation and domain spoofing. Organizations also suffered a 67% increase in business email compromise attacks (or “CEO fraud”), in which scammers impersonate a known source and make a seemingly legitimate business request. Coalition noted that organizations that use Microsoft Outlook were three times more likely to experience business email compromise than organizations that use Gmail.

Hilary Tuttle is senior editor of Risk Management.