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In the second quarter, research from security awareness training experts KnowBe4 reveals that COVID-19-related scams ranging from social media posts, smishing (text message phishing) and email phishing have skyrocketed during this time. (Credit: Shutterstock) In the second quarter, research from security awareness training experts KnowBe4 reveals that COVID-19-related scams ranging from social media posts, smishing (text message phishing) and email phishing have skyrocketed during this time. (Credit: Shutterstock)

The number of incidents involving ransomware reported to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 25% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. While all industries took a hit, manufacturing experienced the steepest increase of all, up 156% quarter on quarter.

The growing number of attacks against vendors and managed services providers contributed significantly to the increase. During the first quarter, BBR Services noted a particular spike in ransomware incidents at service providers for banks and credit unions as well as health care organizations. While ransomware exploitations soared, business email compromise (BEC) was down 16% from the previous quarter. This may be a temporary reprieve in response to COVID-19 as employees working from home may have been less responsive to emails generally, or organizations may have been more focused on ramping up remote working capacity than on identifying and reporting BEC incidents.

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Denny Jacob

Denny Jacob is an associate editor for NU PropertyCasualty360. Contact him at [email protected]

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