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Exponential rise in ransomware attacks is not just a cyber risk, it’s also a primary financial risk

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Exponential rise in ransomware attacks is not just a cyber risk, it’s also a primary financial risk

Summary

Zurich Insurance outlined how companies can defend against ransomware at a time when cyber vulnerabilities have increased amidst the COVID‑19-induced shift to remote work. The approach leverages the NIST framework, widely seen as the global standard for improving cyber defense.

Report

Analysis

The surge in ransomware attacks in the past year has quickly become recognized as the number one cyber risk in the world. From a financial perspective, the exponential increase in attacks globally is an enormous challenge because the operational disruption caused by ransomware attacks is far and away the most damaging to the balance sheet for companies. Firms like Pitney Bowes and Travelex have not and may not recover from ransomware attacks endured in the past year. Maersk had to completely overhaul its IT and security infrastructure following its paralyzing NotPetya attack in 2017.

The exponential increase in strains on corporate IT networks caused by the shift to remote work only further increases the risk of operational disruptions for companies. Moving forward, digital technology will become an even more integral part of corporate critical infrastructure. C-suites that treat this technology like the most valued asset in the company and allocate the risk management resources accordingly will be more likely to reduce their downside financial risks in the coming years. But, unfortunately the combination of a rise of ransomware paired with the massive shift to remote work will increase risks for more corporate networks in 2020—something all C-suites should be focused on to reduce the likelihood of a further damaging hit to the balance sheet.

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