American International Group (AIG), the insurance company based in the U.S., predicted the number of cyber insurance policies will skyrocket from Chinese companies and in other parts of Asia due to the WannaCry ransomware attack that wrecked havoc on companies around the globe a few months ago.
According to a news report in Reuters, citing American International Group, the insurer said it had an 87 percent increase in inquiries for cyber insurance policies in May compared to the month earlier in Greater China, including Hong Kong, all because of WannaCry malware. Around the globe, the increase in cybersecurity inquiries was 38 percent AIG said, reported Reuters.
“The big increase means the organizations are aware they really need protection,” said Cynthia Sze, head of an AIG business in Greater China, reported Reuters. AIG executives declined to quantify it beyond that. The executive, using statistics from Hong Kong Police, told Reuters that the number of cybersecurity incident reports have jumped to 6,000 in 2016 from 1,500 back in 2009. Financial losses from the ransomware cyberattacks increased from HK$45 million to HK$2.3 billion in the same time period.
“WannaCry has really changed the dynamics. We used to tap large multinational companies that understood where the exposure was. Now we are really talking about mid-market and SMEs,” Jason Kelly, AIG’s head of Liabilities and Financial Lines for Greater China, Australasia and South Korea, said in the same report.
As has been widely reported, a massive malware attack hit everything from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, European automakers and Chinese firms and any number of companies across other verticals, winnowing its way through disparate countries in May. Interpol had estimated at the time that more than 100,000 organizations across 150 nations had been hit by the cyberattack.
Reuters and others reported that the ransomware infections that hit computers worldwide likely trace their genesis to the U.S. National Security Agency, and the tally comes to more than 126,000 cases of infection, though that number has likely risen.
The malware that was sent had been hidden in any number of attachments in emails that had seemed legitimate, from files that spoofed invoices to job offers and other communications. The demands came in from $300 to $600 to give users back access to their machines.