Insurers 'Funding Organised Crime' by Paying Ransomware

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Jul 27, 2015
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Insurers are inadvertently funding organised crime by paying out claims from companies who have paid ransoms to regain access to data and systems after a hacking attack, Britain’s former top cybersecurity official has warned.

Ciaran Martin, who ran the National Cyber Security Centre until last August, said he feared that so-called ransomware was “close to getting out of control” and that there was a risk that NHS systems could be hit during the pandemic. The problem, he said, is being fuelled because there is no legal barrier to companies paying ransoms to cyber gangs – typically from Russia and some other former Soviet states – and claiming back on insurance. “People are paying bitcoin to criminals and claiming back cash,” Martin said. “I see this as so avoidable. At the moment, companies have incentives to pay ransoms to make sure this all goes away,” the former intelligence chief said. “You have to look seriously about changing the law on insurance and banning these payments, or at the very least, having a major consultation with the industry”.
 
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