Specialist insurer Beazley has reported a 25% spike in ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2020 versus the fourth quarter of 2019.
This figure is based on incidents reported to in-house breach response team Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services.
While nearly all industries reported incidents, the manufacturing sector was the hardest hit with a 156% increase in incidents quarter-over- quarter.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw criminals turn their attention to ransomware, causing business email compromise incidents reported to Beazley decline 16% in the first quarter as compared to the previous quarter.
Phishing attacks, however, have soared during lockdown, according to security awareness training experts, KnowBe4.
Their research has tracked ways that cyber criminals are using phishing scams to steal personally identifiable information through fake emails and texts designed to look like official COVID-19-related information.
Although manufacturing saw the biggest rise in ransomware incidents, the most affected sectors continue to be financial services and healthcare, which together accounted for half of all ransomware attacks reported to Beazley in the first quarter.
Ransomware attacks against vendors and managed service providers (MSPs) continued to pose problems in Q1 2020, and not only for the targeted business but often their downstream clients, too. Banks and credit unions and healthcare organizations were particularly hard hit as a result of attacks against MSPs.
“Cyber criminals are preying on people’s heightened anxiety during this pandemic, tricking them into clicking and sharing links that steal information,” said Katherine Keefe, head of BBR Services.
“Also, those working from home may have weaker IT security than corporate networks typically provide. Organizations must ensure their security systems and protocols are up to date and ensure that colleagues working from home are extra vigilant.”