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Think tank promotes cyber insurers' ransomware role

A new report from The Geneva Association has highlighted cyber insurers’ crucial role in dealing with ransomware attacks.

The research group says the growing risk posed by cyber criminals requires insurers to have an increasingly vital presence in preventing and protecting potential victims.

The report says a sharp uptick in ransomware attacks has impacted current cyber insurers’ underwriting performances, with the attacks accounting for nearly 75% of all cyber insurance claims in 2020.

“With ransomware we see an example of the important ‘prevention and mitigation’ role insurers play as risk managers,” The Geneva Association MD Jad Ariss said.

“They control a critical lever with their ability to incentivise customers to maintain strong cybersecurity controls and standards, helping to reduce firms’ vulnerability to attack and boost their cyber resilience.”

The report advises regulators and governments against banning ransom payments or insurer reimbursement, saying it could lead to hackers utilising new and dangerous methods to extort victims.

“Prohibiting ransom payments or their reimbursement by insurers would likely drive transactions underground, forfeiting the ability of the authorities to record and analyse incidents and prosecute criminals,” The Geneva Association Cyber and Evolving Liability Director and report author Darren Pain said.

Mr Ariss says governments need to do more to stifle the growing ransomware market by focusing on the illegal use of cryptocurrencies and encouraging international cooperation amongst law enforcement against cyber-attacks.