As of Monday 15 May more than 200,000 computers in over 150 countries have been impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack. The large-scale attack moved fast, starting to impact companies and hospitals across the United States, Europe, and Asia (including Australia) early in the morning of Friday 12 May.
How did it happen?
Ransomware called “WannaCry” is behind the attack; which quickly moves across systems encrypting large amounts of data. Users are locked out and operations are shut down unless a ransom is paid to reinstate files. The current attack requests Bitcoin to an amount between $300 to $600 in return for the decryption key.
According to security researchers, the ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows operating system that was disclosed in an April leak of NSA spying tools.
Security experts are warning that the cyber attack is likely to be magnified in the new workweek as users return to their offices and turn on their computers. Many workers, particularly in Asia, had logged off on Friday before the malicious software began spreading across computer systems around the world.
The true effect of the attack will continue to emerge over the next week as employees return and log in.
Who has been affected?
It’s a common misconception that this was a targeted NHS (National Health Service) attack in the United Kingdom. This is not the case. Reports of organisations across the world falling victim to WannaCry are increasing, some of which include;
- The Renault Formula One team
- Fed Ex
- Russia’s Interior Ministry
- Thousands of small to medium sized businesses
The attack has shown a large cross section of business to be vulnerable regardless of industry, size, or location. No one is immune.
Protection is available: Cyber Insurance
WannaCry has highlighted vulnerabilities with anti-virus software and other protection measures that struggle to keep ahead of the ever changing Cyber attack landscape.
Companies effected by this attack who held a current Cyber & Privacy Protection Insurance policy tailored to their business requirements would have found themselves in an enviable position to those without.
In the event of a loss such as WannaCry, affected companies can rely on the following benefits from a comprehensive Cyber and Privacy protection insurance policy;
- Cover for ransom required to be paid
- Assistance from a specialist emergency response team, whilst their systems are down including IT Specialists, Lawyers, Media Relation Firms, and Credit Monitoring Specialist
- Assistance from the above mentioned team to assist post breach rectification
- Media Relations assistance
- Business Interruption Loss cover
Ultimately WannaCry has brought to the attention, on a global scale, the associated risks in operating in a globally connected environment.
Lessons learnt from this are two fold:
Vulnerabilities in online security will always be present, whether attacks arise through targeted or non-targeted instances, human error or simply bad luck
Insurance is available and should be considered as part of an over all cyber and privacy protection strategy. Protection is available for events like WannaCry or anything similar.
Access our Cyber protection options here for further information on how Lockton can assist you.
Author: Mark Luckin
Associate, Professional Risks
+61 8 9217 0886