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Gallagher hit by ransomware attack

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US-based broker Gallagher was forced to take its entire global systems offline as a precautionary measure after a ransomware attack last month.

The cyber attack was detected on September 26 and impacted a limited portion of its internal systems, the broker said last week in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“As of the date hereof, we have restarted or are in the process of restarting most of our business systems,” Gallagher says. “Although we are in the early stages of assessing the incident, based on the information currently known, we do not expect the incident to have a material impact on our business, operations or financial condition.”

Gallagher has launched an investigation into the incident, engaging external cybersecurity and forensics professionals to assist. It has also business continuity plans to minimise customer disruption.

A spokesman for Gallagher’s Australian operations did not respond to questions from insuranceNEWS.com.au about the impact on its local operations.

Law firm Wotton + Kearney says the Gallagher incident further reinforces the growing data security threat posed by ransomware.

“These days, all organisations, particularly those that are data-rich, have to assume they are a target,” Cyber Leader Kieran Doyle told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “With the threat of ransomware increasing, business continuity planning is more important in 2020 than it ever was before.

“Ransomware brings even the largest organisation to its knees, so companies need to understand what a complete shutdown looks like and how quickly it can safely bring systems back online.”

He says this year has seen an increase in ransomware attacks against all companies big and small.

“However the most significant trend this year is ‘big game hunting’ where e-crime actors target large global organisations and exfiltrate data prior to ransomware execution,” Mr Doyle said.

“Data extortion is the new big problem for organisations in 2020, with the ransoms even in the last six months larger than they have ever been.”