COVID-19 has Led to a Surge in Cyberattacks

Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson indicates that majority of insurance industry professionals expect an increase in frequency and severity of cyberattacks.  In a recent global survey covering 56 countries, 86%, believe frequency of cyberattacks will increase. And 54% believe the severity of attacks will also increase.  The increased concerns over cyberattacks is primarily attributed to the transition to remote working, increasing the vulnerability of many businesses.

When asked of the likelihood of a catastrophic cyberattack within the next 5 years leading to claims more than $10 billion, one-third of respondents indicated “likely”.  This compares to 13% of respondents stating that such an attack was likely before COVID-19.  The concern is greatest in Asia-Pacific. 

These findings are reinforced by an annual survey of chief information officers around the globe conducted by Harvey Nash and KPMG.   The survey found that 41% of IT leaders reported their companies have experienced more cyberattacks. Areas where cyberattacks have increased due to remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic include spear phishing, cited by 83% of firms, and malware, cited by 62%.

The KPMG/Harvey Nash data is substantiated by Accenture’s Annual Cybersecurity Report, reporting that organizations face 22 security breaches per year on average, and the total average cost per attack is $380,000 per incident. In response, KPMG research indicates that cybersecurity is the most in-demand skill worldwide.  Overall, the report noted that the IT skills shortage remains close to an all-time high, especially for traditional in-house roles.