One of business owners’ nightmare is to be attacked by an unknown enemy in the web. A Chicago- based CNA Financial Corporation did not deny nor validate a report from Bloomberg that it paid $40 million that reportedly is the highest ransom on record. You would not want to be on the list of victims, might be big or small enterprises, unable to sleep at night because of ransomware crooks keeping us awake and not even allowing us to blink on their onslaught, program- paralyzing, and information- looting activities.

These criminals target to hack private and government offices aiming to steal detailed personal data such as, customer’s passwords, Social Security Numbers, to credit card data and medical diagnoses as associated to an incident that hit a broker Gallagher last September. The broker admitted the massive assault last June.


The attackers will break the bank of their prey plaguing businesses, hospitals, schools, and local government. Cyber Insurance is one of their profitable niche industries. It would make you foot the bill in snap of their finger and a few clicks on their mouse while you worry on your privacy. It reported 400% increase in ransomware cases affected last year skyrocketing force demands. The insurance payout now on 70% as a percentage of premium collected notedly a break- even point.


We can consider the ransomware attack as epidemic as it disturbed a lot of establishments. In May, insurer AXA with operations in Thailand, allegedly suffered hard- hit. CAN Financial Corporation, the seventh- ranked U.S. cyber security underwriter got mugged last year and decreased growth in March. When Gallagher was attacked by a ransomware group RagnarLocker no information leaked on their website after the strike suggesting that might be the company paid to escape the threats of the gang’s dark web site’s evidence. Company Spokeswoman Kelli Murray would not say if any cyber insurance policy contracts were breeched on their compromised system. Of the three insurance brokers, the ones from Montreal and Detroit have some of their data disclosed and did not bother to respond to phone calls and emails. Lastly is in Southern California that acknowledged their terrible experience with the hackers for a week.


“The ransomware groups got way too greedy too quickly. So, the cost- benefit equation the insurer initially used to figure out whether they should pay a ransom—it’s just not there anymore”, Fabian Wosar said. Wosar is Chief Technical Officer of Emisoft, a cybersecurity software firm specializing in ransomware. He also added that the prevailing attitude among insurers is no longer: Pay the criminals. It’s likely to be cheaper for all involved.


Knowing what the victims can afford to pay gives them the privilege to demand more. Cybercriminals who hack into corporate and government networks to rob information to blackmail are that smart to research how much cyber insurance coverage the victims have. Their prime target, the cyber insurance industry, would have their customers’ identities and scope of coverage exposed if the price is unpaid. Pressure is building on the industry to stop reimbursing for ransoms.


A Russian- speaking ransomware gang, REvil was interviewed by a cybersecurity firm, Recorded Future, revealing that this group is highly skilled in pre- attack intelligence- gathering and happens to be behind the recent attacks. They also suggested that it actively aims insurers for data on their clients.


“The price has to match the risk”, said Michael Phillips, chief claims officer at the San Francisco cyber insurance firm Resilience and a co- chair of the public- private Ransomware Task Force. Hybrid insurers like Resilience and Boston- based Corvus do not simply ask potential customers to fill out questionnaires, they also physically probe their cyber defenses and actively involved clients as cyber threats occur. “We’re monitoring and making active recommendations not just once a year but throughout the year dynamically”, said Corvus CEO Phil Edmundson.


The CEO of U.K. – based Beazley, Adrian Cox, said, “Generally, speaking network security is not good enough at the moment”. He also mentioned that it is up to the government to decide whether payments are bad public policy. On the other hand, a Copenhagen Business School lecturer, thinks cyber insurance should be compulsory for business large and small, comparing it to driving with car insurance and seat belts. Jan Lemnitzer says it would be a “no- brainer” to oblige insurers to stop reimbursing for the businesses with ransomware attack but considers that banning ransom payments problematic. Because of the threats, Royal United Services Institute study recommends cyber insurance for all government suppliers and vendors.


A various group suggested imposing fines in ransom payments as a hindrance.  Or the government could retain a percentage of any cryptocurrency retrieved from ransomware criminals, federal ransomware defense fund will get the proceeds. “Such measure could bite into criminal revenues.”, said Attorney Stewart Baker of Steptoe and Johnson, a former NSA general counsel. #