Pay Up or Shut Down?

 Thursday, June 3, 2021

 CLM Magazine

It had been simmering beneath the surface for some time. The profound increase in frequency and severity of ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses in every sector was impossible not to notice.

Ransomware is malicious computer software that is designed to remove a user’s access to a computer system. The attacker, or ‘threat actor,’ will demand an extortion payment (which is typically in the form of cryptocurrency) in consideration for restoring the access.

Our own clients—who optimistically will only have to deal with a ransomware incident once—will often wonder, after witnessing the process of a ransomware incident response, ‘How do these cyber insurance companies stay in business?’ (One word: reinsurance).

For cyber claims professionals, having the authority to issue seven-figure extortion payments within days following receipt of a first notice of loss is rather routine. And ransomware claims have accelerated considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who keep statistics on these metrics are uniform in their conclusions: The average ransomware payment now far exceeds $100,000, and there are more cases that involve data privacy risks to third parties than there are that do not.
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