Ransomware attacks reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the U.K. doubled last year to 654 from 326 in 2020, according to a report Monday (March 28) from the international law firm RPC based on data from the ICO.
Increased profitability by fraudsters contributed to the surge in attacks, mostly due to companies paying hefty ransoms after having important and sensitive data encrypted and their businesses brought to a halt.
“Ransomware attacks have been on the rise and it’s a problem that isn’t going away any time soon,” said Richard Breavington, partner and head of RPC’s Cyber and Tech Insurance team.
“It is becoming increasingly rare for cyber to be covered by other types of insurance policies. As a result, businesses that are not taking dedicated cyber policies run the risk of becoming underinsured.”
Breavington said that to avoid being snared in an insurance gap, companies should make sure they have the most recent security measures installed.
“Not only will this reduce the chances of succumbing to an attack, but it will also signal to insurers that they take matters of cybersecurity seriously and hopefully make it easier for them to get coverage,” Breavington said, adding that having segregated backups will also help.
Another reason for the uptick in ransomware crimes is because of the widespread availability of crooks licensing their ransomware to other fraudsters that have limited tech knowledge. Access is being sold by those who spot vulnerabilities to those who can execute the attack and siphon the data.
Finance, insurance, and credit companies were hit by 103 attacks, followed by education and childcare with 80 attacks, according to the report. Industries that have access to sensitive financial data are often at the highest risk of being targeted by ransomware gangs.