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Ransomware dangers. Cybercriminals have found that holding data hostage is far more lucrative than selling personally identifiable information over the internet. (Photo: Jaruwan Jaiyangyuen/Shutterstock)

The sudden rise of ransomware attacks over the last 18 months has led to a resurgence of criticism in the media aimed at the cyber insurance market, accusing insurers in this space of funding cybercrime and calling on governments to make their reimbursement of ransom payments illegal. What this criticism has in common is an underlying allegation that this move would not be supported by the insurance industry — that somehow it would fundamentally destroy the value proposition of the product and service cyber insurers provide, and we would prefer this crime continue to develop “because it’s good for business.”

I can’t claim to speak on behalf of the insurance industry, but having been involved in cyber insurance for almost 20 years now, I can say with some certainty that this is not how the industry thinks. In fact, I’d make a fairly large wager that most (if not all) of my peers would happily support a bill to make the reimbursement of ransoms illegal, if — and only if — that would solve the problem. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would.

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