In a report released by the insurance giant AIG last week, ransomware attacks topped 25% of all cyber claims filed in 2017. This number was up significantly from 16% of cyber claims on average between the years 2013 and 2016.
Industry insiders believe that the WannaCry ransomware attacks may be at the heart of the reason for this increase. The attacks gutted cyber infrastructure across an array of industries, including healthcare, financial services, education, logistics and manufacturing.
Ransomware is a particularly well-known variety of “malware” software, which holds unsuspecting website users’ data hostage until a ransom is paid. Experts warn that even in cases of payment there is no guarantee that a person’s data will be returned.
The report also depicted a world where companies themselves are not immune from attacks, with several instances of corporate data theft, particularly for healthcare providers of all sizes. Experts warn that no industry is immune to attacks in the future.
Though the WannaCry attacks could have been worse, they point to an unnerving trend in the shadowy world of cybercrime, where creators have begun commoditizing their own variants of the malware in order to turn even more profit. The report also indicated that automation of ransomware was another trend that would have a negative impact in the years to come.
The ransomware attacks do not discriminate amongst users, and typically the malicious software embeds itself in the the unsuspecting user’s computer after the person clicks on a spam link or email.
According to the report, AIG officials indicated that the ransomware attacks of the previous year were just the beginning of a trend that was likely to get worse for companies attempting to protect their customers in the future.