Ransomware attacks: 40% surge in Q3 2020

This year cyber attacks have increased many folds as compared to previous years due to new security challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The third quarter of the year has seen a huge surge in ransomware attacks. Globally, a total of 199.7 million ransomware attacks have been reported in the third quarter of 2020. 

According to cyber security experts, ransomware attacks have increased 40% to 199.7 million cases globally in Q3 of this year. Below we have mentioned some staggering statistics which will give you an insight into the present situation:

  1. The US observed 145.2 million ransomware hits in Q3, which is a 139% year-over-year increase.
  2. The cyber security researchers have detected new ransomware, Ryuk, with 5,123 attacks in just Q3 2019.
  3. Ryuk ransomware attacks have increased to 67.3 million in Q3 2020, which is 33.7% of all ransomware attacks this year.
  4. Though ransomware attacks have gained pace this year, malware attacks have fallen significantly. Cyber security researchers have recorded 4.4 billion malware attacks in a year-over-year comparison through Q3 – a 39% drop worldwide.
  5. The experts have detected a 30% rise in IoT (Internet of Things) malware attacks with a total figure of 32.4 billion attacks globally.


The above data shows a considerable decrease in malware attacks but that does not imply the disappearance of malware attacks. Because, this is just a recurring downturn that can easily adjust itself in a short amount of time, as per a cyber security report.

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The Strategy Behind Ransomware Attacks


Ransomware is a form of malware that is installed into victims’ computers through malicious emails. It encrypts the victims’ data for which victims need the decryption key. The cyber attackers demand ransom, which can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable in Bitcoin, for the decryption key.


There are a number of attack vectors through which ransomware can gain unauthorized access into victims’ databases. One of the most prominent ways used to access victims’ computers is phishing emails and email attachments. Cyber criminals make these emails look trustable and trick the users to open them. Once these emails are opened and attachments are downloaded, the attackers take over the victims’ computers.

Five Protective Actions Against Ransomware Attacks

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By following essential preventive measures, you can easily keep the ransomware attacks at bay. All you need to do is to be careful about what you perform on your computer. Let’s walk through some “must follow” cybersecurity practices:

  1. Avoid clicking untrustable links: Never click on suspicious or untrustable links, attached in unsolicited emails.
  2. Build your data-backup: Create a separate data-backup in an external hard drive that is not connected to your computer, so that you don’t have to pay the ransom if a ransomware attack happens.
  3. Don’t disclose your personal information: Never disclose your personal information if you receive any call, text, or email which is asking for your personal details like banking information or any account information. Always verify the source of those contacts as cybercriminals steal personal data first to misuse it for malicious campaigns or financial frauds.
  4. Use content scanning and filtering software: It is advisable to use content scanning and filtering software on your mail server to prevent a ransomware attack. The software helps in reducing the likelihood of a malicious email reaching your inbox.
  5. Security awareness program for employees: As an organization, you would always want to secure your confidential data from all types of cyberattacks. Therefore, it is important to conduct a cyber security awareness program among employees that will disseminate detailed knowledge of attack vectors and how to reduce the chances of ransomware attacks.

Reasons why insurers need AI to combat fraud ahead of time.

AI to combat fraud

The insurance industry consists of more than 7,000 companies that collect more than $1 trillion in premiums annually, providing fraudsters with huge opportunities to commit fraud using a growing number of schemes. Fraudsters are successful too often. According to FBI statistics, the total cost of non-health insurance fraud is estimated at more than $40 billion a year.

Fighting fraud is like aiming at a constantly moving target, since criminals constantly hone and change their strategies. As insurers offer customers additional ways to submit information, fraudsters find a way to exploit new channels, and detecting issues is increasingly challenging because threats and attacks are growing in sophistication. For example, organized crime has found a way to roboclaim insurers that set up electronic claims capabilities.

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can help insurers keep one step ahead of perpetrators. IBM Watson, for instance, helps insurers fight fraud by learning from and adapting to changing business rules and emerging nefarious activities. Watson can learn on the fly, so insurers don’t have to program in changes to sufficiently protect against evolving fraud at all times.

insurers need Artificial Intelligence to combat fraud

Here are four compelling reasons insurers need to begin to address fraud with sophisticated AI systems and machine learning that can continuously monitor claims for fraud potential:

  1. The aging workforce. There are many claims folks who are aging out and will soon retire, taking years of knowledge with them. Seasoned adjusters often rely on their gut instinct to detect fraud, knowing which claims just don’t seem right, based on years of experience. However, incoming claims staff don’t have the experience to know when a claim seems suspicious. Insurers need to seize and convert that knowledge, getting it into a software program or an AI program so that the technology can capture the experience.
  2. Evolving fraud events and tactics. Even though claims people may have looked at fraud the same way for years, the environment surrounding claims is always changing, enabling new ways to commit fraud. Fraud detection tactics that may have worked 6 months ago might not be relevant today. For instance, several years ago when gas prices were through the roof, SUVs were reported stolen at an alarming rate. They weren’t really stolen however — they had just become too costly to operate. Now that gas prices have gone down, this fraud isn’t happening as often. If an insurer programs an expensive rule into the system, 6 months later economic factors may change and that problem may not be an issue anymore.
  3. Digital transformation. Insurers are all striving to go digital and electronic. As they make claims reporting easier, more people are reporting claims electronically, stressing the systems. At the same time, claims staffing levels remain constant, so the same number of workers now have to detect fraud in a much higher claims volume.
  4. Fighting fraud is not the claim handlers’ core job responsibility. The claim adjuster’s job is to adjudicate a claim, get it settled and make the customer happy. Finding fraud puts adjusters in an adversarial situation. Some are uncomfortable with looking for fraud because they don’t like conflict. A system that detects fraud enables adjusters to focus on their areas of expertise.

In the past, insurance organizations relied heavily on their experienced claims adjusters to identify potentially fraudulent claims. But since fraudsters are turning to technology to commit crimes against insurance companies, carriers need to turn to technology to help fight them. Humans will still be a critical component of any fraud detection strategy, however. Today, insurance organizations need a collaborative human-machine approach, since they can’t successfully fight fraud with just one tactic or one system. To fight fraud, humans need machines, and machines need human intervention

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