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It’s been a rough year, and we’re not even all the way through it.

One of the contributing factors however, is how rampant cyber insurance claims have been in the first half of 2020. The leading cause on 41% of these cases? Ransomware.

Claims ranging between $1000 to $2,000,000 have littered the better part of this year, in part due to the raging COVID pandemic, in part due to just malicious intent and a wider net cast as technology advances and infiltrates our daily lives.

One of the largest providers of cyber insurance services in North America, Coalition, published their findings that this high number of claims confirms reports from cyber security agencies across the globe, “that ransomware is one of today’s most prevalent and destructive threats.”

Coalition also reminds us that “ransomware doesn’t discriminate by industry. We’ve seen an increase in ransom attacks across almost every industry we serve.”

There has been a 260% increase seen in the frequency of attacks for Coalition’s policy holders in the past six months alone, 47% on average seeing an increase in ransom demand.

Who is the most aggressive on the ransomware stage? Taking the spotlight is “Maze and DoppelPaymer, which have recently begun exfiltrating data from hacked networks, and threatening to release data on specialized leak sites, as part of double extortion schemes.”

A spike in insurance claims has also been recorded for “funds transfer fraud attacks and business email compromise (BEC) events, with the first growing 35% from 2019 to 2020, and the second growing 67%.” These attacks are tricks by criminal gangs to trick a company into making a payment to an “attacker-controlled account.”

Losses from these attacks range from thousands to millions, but in most cases, with quick intervention the lost funds can be recovered. Coalition has recovered funds in 55% of all cases at an average of 84% of the funds themselves.

As we cautiously wade into the last half of 2020, we need to be increasingly aware of the danger these ransomware gangs present, and the idea that no one company is more vulnerable than the next. Cybersecurity training, awareness, and preparedness will decrease your chance of becoming a statistic.

Schedule a meeting today: https://bit.ly/3j6N897

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-toy-house-placed-on-table-with-pile-of-coins-3740794/

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomware-accounts-to-41-of-all-cyber-insurance-claims/?ftag=TRE-03-10aaa6b&bhid=28837826891618282212917048574090&mid=13038677&cid=2176732464

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It’s no secret that 2020 has paved the way to become one of the worst years in recent history, but it’s also one of the worst years for cyber attacks and there’s a distinct reason. So, why has there been a seven-fold increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2019? The payout. 
 
The greater the risk, the greater the reward, and that idea is translating across all forms of cyber-attack, especially ransomware. 
 
In recent years ransomware attacks have become increasingly dangerous, “with cyber criminals aiming to encrypt as much of a corporate network as possible in order to extort a bitcoin ransom in return for restoring it. A single attack can result in cyber criminals making hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.” 
 
Bitdefender’s Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report 2020 claims that there has been a 715% year-on-year increase in detected, and blocked, ransomware attacks. 
 
Hackers are on a constant mission to evolve their code, increase their payday, and cause more damage than ever before. Ransomware that was popular in 2019 has disappeared and given way to newer, highly disruptive and more devastating threats. Bitdefender’s global cybersecurity researcher Liviu Arsene, explains that the popularity of ransomware “families” change, and last year’s most popular has actually decreased. 
 
New ransomware families like Sodinokibi (aka REvil), are highly targeted operations, and have made massive amounts of money from targeting high-profile organizations in extortion scams. 
 
The threat these hackers hold in their hands now, is data leakage, and that alone is enough to ensure their campaign rakes in the profit they’re looking for. Threats that used to be hollow as long as a company would pay the ransom are now followed through, and could cost a fortune in data privacy law suits if information is publicly leaked. 
 
Today’s cyber thieves aren’t messing around. 
 
Ransomware-as-a-service is a continued problem for organizations around the world, and although they may not be “as advanced as most high-profile versions, their availability ‘as-a-service’ allows even low-level attackers to deploy attacks in an effort to illicitly make money, often from smaller and medium-sized businesses that feel they have no other option but to pay.” 
 
Regularly patching security updates to avoid vulnerability exploits, multi-factor authentication, and regularly backing up your organizations systems to a protected database on a consistent basis will help ensure if the worst is to happen, that ransomware doesn’t infiltrate the network. Protection is key. 

Schedule a meeting today! https://bit.ly/3j6N897
 
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You’re in a time crunch, a looming deadline not far off in the distance, and all the sudden your screen goes blank, work erased, files encrypted… Ransomware, only you’re not in the office with an IT team at your beck and call, you’re at home. What now? How could this have been prevented?

 

All too real is the threat that this will happen to remote employees, typing away in their home offices due to the pandemic. It also doesn’t seem likely home offices will disappear any time soon, so security precautions in place to avoid these disasters are imperative.

 

Below are 5 tools you need to secure your remote office, no matter where that may be.

 

First, home offices should have real firewalls (not just cable boxes or routers). Why doesn’t a router work? Well, most everyone who accesses the internet has a router at home that handles network traffic, it doesn’t however control or limit the data like a firewall does. A firewall is essentially a barrier, filtering data and blocking any with malicious intent. Firewall hardware can be physically added to your router, or added as software to your computer, either way, you shouldn’t go without it.

 

Second, real endpoint security (not low-end freeware, i.e. Windows Defender) is required just like in the office. A basic antivirus like Windows Defender is good to have, but do you rely on that application alone to keep your PC safe? Absolutely not. The benefits of real endpoint security are protected entry-point end user devices (home PCs), remoting into your organization’s network, helping mitigate risk from cyber-threats that could result in devastating down-time after an attack.

 

Third, real corporate grade email security that protects against phishing, malicious web links, even CEO fraud is a necessity since mail is #1 threat vector. Ever received an email from your boss (who’s on vacation) asking for gift card verification codes? Email is designed to be open and accessible but shouldn’t be to hackers. Malware, spam, and phishing attacks with links or attachments designed to infiltrate your business and wreak havoc should never end up in your inbox.  Encryption and authentication are a must.

 

Fourth, secure WiFi is critical at home. With most computers connected wirelessly, unsecure wireless is a big issue. With an ever expanding IOT, there are bound to be multiple devices that access your home network, any vulnerable device or easy-to-guess password can give hackers possible access to bank accounts, credit cards, security cameras, and even company files accessible through your computer. A secure password, VPN, and guest network for… yes, guests, will help keep your data yours.

 

Last but not least, MFA is mission critical. Multi-Factor-Authentication means more than one way to log into an account or device. “Criminals rely on log-in credential stealing as their #1 method to gain access to your systems, data and applications.” Requiring a username, password, biometrics, and a 6-digit passcode to your mobile device and email, is quick to deploy, easy to maintain, and secures your information from cyber thieves.

 

Don’t just hope your home office doesn’t fall prey to an online scam or cyber-attack, prepare, and prevent it from happening to you.

 

Sources: https://www.esecuritysolutions.com/mfa-solves-remote-worker-security-problem/

https://www.cloudns.net/blog/router-vs-firewall-hardware-software/

https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/security-awareness/endpoint.html

https://info.hummingbirdnetworks.com/blog/bid/303317/why-keeping-your-wifi-network-secure-is-important

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/ePu9rM_ud7g


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Blog

Trust issues can be a serious problem, one we all know can snowball into bigger more serious issues later down the road. So much so, that it can lead customers right out your door and into your competitors.


Security, personal information storage or misuse of that information, data breaches, etc., all of these are key factors in customer trust. All of these are issues that, if not taken seriously, can bankrupt your business or at the very least seriously weaken it.


A 2018 Ping Identity survey on “personal data breach and customer behavior” indicated “trust issues” directly result in people “abandoning a company, product or service”. No longer are privacy and security routine aspects in a product’s development stage but are now crucial to the sale and customer retention rate. 78% percent of study participants said they would no longer engage with a brand online after a data breach, with 50% stating they would flat out not use the breached service or application afterward.


More of our lives rely on remote work and interactions than ever before, and businesses cannot afford to lose 50% of their customer base. This is forcing companies to confront their privacy issues head on, although some have been slow-moving.


“A PwC’s 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey report found that only 25% of consumers believed that their data was handled responsibly.” While data privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have been written and set in place, there still has not been a drastic increase in customer trust.


An example of an organization that has valiantly fought for and advocated data privacy is Apple, and we all know how many of our friends and loved ones hold tight to their iPhones and Air Pods. In a 2019 Time Magazine article, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote, “In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy — yours, mine, all of ours.”


Cybersecurity is an assurance that keeps a business alive.


Forbes Magazine’s Kazi Kabir writes, “Using data in innovative ways does branch out to building security and privacy risk management into a company’s cybersecurity portfolio — a stream that needs attention and focus if a business wishes to expand its clientele. If the government bodies can recognize the importance of investing in cybersecurity and use it righteously, why can’t business enterprises that pride themselves in innovation?”


If a new customer base, or a steady increase is your goal, we might also suggest your focus be related to the privacy concerns that plague them on a daily basis. Tackle those, and the door people will be clambering to get into, will be your own. Schedule a meeting today: https://bit.ly/3j6N897

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