Cyber threats driving insurance, but expect more attacks

Published: July 31, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Cybersecurity insurance is the next big avenue in insurance. A wave of ransomware, crypto-currency fraud, viruses, and data breaches have put companies on high alert. Companies are beginning to protect themselves through insurance, and it is driving a growing market, according to professional services company Accenture.

 “The first six months of 2017 have seen an evolution of ransomware producing more viral variants unleashed by potential state-sponsored actors and cybercriminals,” said Josh Ray, managing director at Accenture Security, in a press release to accompany a report. “Our findings confirm that a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across all industries to defend their assets in the coming months.”

Accenture Security’s iDefense division released its 2017 Cyber Threatscape Report last week. The study examined cyber trends through the first six months of this year. It also considered ever evolving threats that will occur over the next six months:

“Based on in-depth analysis, the report anticipates a growth in the number of threat actors who are rapidly expanding their capabilities due to factors such as the proliferation of affordable, customizable and accessible tools and exploits,” the release said.

Using iDefense data collections, alongside research and analysis, the report shows how frequent destructive attacks occur.

Among the report’s findings are the following:

  • Reverse deception tactics– Increasing cybercriminal use of deception tactics, including anti-analysis code, steganography (hiding a secret message with an ordinary one) and expendable command-and-control servers used for concealment of stolen data. Greater public reporting on cyber threat activity and attribution may accelerate this denial and deception trend, increasing the cost of cyber defence efforts and resource allocations, the release suggested;
  • Sophisticated phishing campaigns – Cybercriminals continue to craft familiar lures – subject lines mentioning invoices, shipping, resumes, wire transfers, missed payments, etc. – but ransomware is displacing banking trojans as one of the most prevalent types of malware delivered via phishing techniques;
  • Strategic use of information operations – Escalation of espionage and disruption activity from state-sponsored actors may continue in response to fulfilling strategic collection requirements and geopolitical triggers such as economic sanctions, military exercises and religious conflicts;
  • Alternative crypto-currencies – Bitcoin continues to be the currency of choice among cybercriminals, however, the need to better conceal transactions is forcing cybercriminals to either develop and leverage bitcoin laundering techniques or adopt alternative cryptocurrencies; and
  • DDoS(distributed denial of service)-for-hire services – These services have given way to a thriving DDoS-for-hire botnet ecosystem leading to threat actors gaining greater access to increasingly potent and affordable DDoS-for-hire tools and services.