A new report by Chubb highlights the recent growth of ransomware attacks and suggests the best practices companies should follow to combat the associated risks.

The 2019 third quarter edition of the Chubb Cyber InFocus Report, "Adapting to the New Realities of Cyber Risks," found that ransomware attacks are increasing at “an alarming rate.” During the first half of 2019, the number of ransomware claims had already outstripped the total number of ransomware claims Chubb saw in 2018.

The manufacturing sector accounts for 23 percent, and professional services 30 percent of the total number of ransomware incidents reported to Chubb across all industries through the third quarter.

Manufacturing companies more likely to be targeted

“Manufacturing companies are more likely to be targeted because of their need to quickly restore operations, and professional service firms, which rely heavily on email, are often affected because of vulnerabilities associated with phishing attacks,” says Chubb, adding that however, ransomware can affect any company, regardless of size or industry.

"Ransomware is not new, but has evolved over time," said Michael Tanenbaum, Head of Chubb Cyber North America. "In today's environment, the impact of a company's system becoming inoperable can result in severe and long-term disruption for a business. Some ransom demands have grown to the six-and seven-figure range, so it is critical for businesses to understand the increased sophistication of ransomware, what procedures and systems need to be in place to mitigate the risk, and what solutions they need to protect themselves should they experience an attack."

Chubb advises that due to the increasing the complexity of the ransomware, multiple layers of preventative measures are needed to mitigate potential incidents and ensure a reaction plan is in place if an attack occurs. "By regularly backing up data files and securing those backups offline, properly educating employees, investing in state-of the-art security and antivirus software, and purchasing a comprehensive cyber insurance policy, businesses can be better prepared and protected no matter the threat," says Anthony Dolce, Vice President, Cyber Lead, Chubb North America Financial Lines Claims.

To learn more, consult the report here.