Resources & Insights

Case Study: A Better Defense Against Cyber Hackers

November 19, 2019

The challenge: Roughly 300 billion emails are sent every day, a number that’s only expected to grow in the years ahead. It’s an overwhelming number that cyber hackers use to their advantage, mounting ransomware attacks that, according to law enforcement, are costing private businesses and other organizations billions of dollars in losses. Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files on a victim’s computer or server, making them unusable. Cyber criminals demand a ransom in exchange for providing a key to decrypt the victim’s files. That, unfortunately, is exactly what happened to one of our clients. One of their employees opened an attachment in what they believed was a customer’s email and, before they knew it, their entire system was shut down. Access to critical software was blocked. No one could open documents on company servers or even on individual desktops. All before the first pots of coffee that morning had finished brewing.

Our solution: Crucially, we were notified of the hack almost immediately, allowing us to quickly get the insurance company’s cyber response team in contact with the client. The demand from the hackers was standard: Send them the equivalent of $150,000 in bitcoin and they’d provide our client with the key needed to unlock things. It wasn’t long before the IT team traced the problem to somewhere in Russia, a common source for many of the world’s ransomware attacks. After stepping in to handle negotiations with the cyber hackers, the team ascertained that the code provided by the hackers to unlock our client’s frozen files was, in fact, valid and decided to pay the ransom.

The outcome: As is typical, it took a lot more than a key or two to get our client’s computer systems back to normal. Indeed, it took about three weeks to rebuild servers and otherwise wipe things clean. But as it turned out, our client had fortunately listened to our recommendation to buy a cyber insurance policy shortly before the hack. Its policy covered the ransom, paid for the IT professionals who helped put things back in order, covered the cost of software damaged in the attack, covered legal expenses and covered loss of income for the duration – about $500,000 in all. In short, plenty of relief in a story that could have ended far worse.

Related:  7 Ways Cyber Insurance Policies Can Help You Respond to a Data Breach

CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.


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