Calculating the True Cost of Ransomware

Forget the ransom. The real fee is business disruption.

Last week’s global ransomware attack was quick and surprising. Quick in that the software, known as WannaCry, infected more than 10,000 organizations in 150 countries in just about 24 hours, encrypting data on infected computers and making it impossible for users to access crucial files. Among the infected organizations are the U.K. National Health Service (NHS), the U.S. courier FedEx, and French car maker Renault. It was all something of a surprise, too – not only because it moved so fast, but also because the hackers demanded a relatively small ransom of $300.

The true cost

But the ransom isn’t the real cost. The true price has to do with expenses related to business disruptions and brand damage.  According to Reuters, one cyber-risk research firm estimates that the total cost of WannaCry is approximately $4 billion in economic costs.

Fighting back

Forward-looking insurers understand that policyholders need help to not just cover ransom costs, but to help them forestall ransomware attacks in the first place. In a recent PropertyCasualty360 article, insurance providers that are truly serious about fighting ransomware are creating custom-built claims teams with specific characteristics, including expert claims professionals and strong links with the IT community.

The fight against ransomware likely won’t end anytime soon. If anything, it will grow more complex. It will also involve higher stakes, and it will require ceaseless activity to get ahead and stay ahead in this ever-escalating battle of wits and weapons.

International underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in areas of the property and casualty market.

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