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Ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016

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Ransomware incidents among Beazley P.L.C. clients more than quadrupled in 2016 over 2015’s total, to more than 200, and are expected to double in 2017, the insurer said Thursday in a report.

“Organizations appear to be particularly vulnerable to attacks during IT system freezes, at the end of financial quarters and during busy shopping periods,” Beazley’s breach response services unit said in its Beazley Breach Insights Report–January 2017.

“Evolving ransomware variants enable hackers to methodically investigate a company’s system, selectively lock the most critical files, and demand higher ransoms to get the more valuable files unencrypted,” the report said.

“The threat from ransomware is not only growing, but evolving to allow hackers to target vulnerable organizations and their most valuable data files and adjust ransom demands accordingly,” Katherine Keefe, Philadelphia-based global head of the breach response services unit, said a statement.

“The sustained increase in these threats in 2016 indicates that even more organizations will be attacked in 2017 and need to have incident response plans in place before they get a ransomware demand,” she said.