Study reveals unprecedented levels of cyber peril globally

The global threat of cyber attack is more common, more dangerous and more destructive than ever before, according to a report published today.

Tokio Marine HCC International’s second annual Cyber Incidents Report shows that the vast majority of the incidents listed in this year’s top ten involved large institutions where cyber security plays an integral role in operations. But this hasn’t prevented their sophisticated defence systems from coming under attack.

In just ten incidents last year, over US$600m in cash was stolen or taken as ransom, tens of millions of citizen records stolen, 40,000 businesses’ IT operations put at risk, one billion airline passenger details compromised and at least one bank was effectively shut down for over a week.

Some of the most damaging attacks were experienced by the likes of Microsoft, Kaseya and SITA, organisations whose products and services feed directly into the systems of third parties.

Isaac Guasch, cyber security specialist at TMHCCI and author of the report said: “We are noticing a drastic increase in both likelihood and severity of all types of cyber attack. We have seen a marked increase in ransomware attacks, their complexity and in the appetite to target smaller organisations.

“But whether you are a small independent business or a large, international organisation, the increasingly interconnected nature of the businesses that form our economies, is a key threat. Even if you are confident that your cyber security measures are up to date, those of your partners may not be, so you may need to constantly redefine your perimeter.”

Ranking the top ten global cyber incidents by impact shows that all sectors are being targeted by attackers, from IT companies, financial services firms, energy companies and software component providers to government databases and airport security.

“It’s clear that organisations of all shapes and sizes need to understand that wherever they are and whatever they are engaged in, their business is at risk,” explained Xavier Marguinaud (pictured), head of cyber at TMHCCI. “But by gathering, analysing and understanding the nature of these incidents, TMHCCI is able to better understand threat trends, attacker motivation and modus operandi. This insight allows us to provide effective insurance solutions that include tailored pre- and post-incident services to ensure your organisation is best prepared for any cyber threats.”

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