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Courtesy of AIR: Middle-market cyberattacks rise during the pandemic

Specialist insurer Beazley has reported that middle market organisations have been especially hard hit by online social engineering attacks during the pandemic.

In the second quarter of 2020, cybercriminals targeted businesses that remained open during lockdown where many employees were working remotely, making them more susceptible to cyberattacks.

Of all the social engineering attacks reported to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services globally in Q2, 60% of organisations targeted were in the middle market (defined as over $35m in annual revenue), up from 46% in Q1.

Social engineering involving a system infiltration remained at a steady rate in the first half of the year. Fortunately, in more than 80% of reported incidents, the attack was stopped before a direct financial loss occurs.

“Middle-market organisations have been resilient in maintaining their day-to-day operations during the pandemic and, in turn, their employees are more available to be targeted. Additionally, cybercriminals are executing more sophisticated attacks and middle-market organisations provide richer targets,” said Beazley global claims team lead for cyber & tech Kimberly Horn.

Fraudulent instruction attacks also primarily hit middle market organisations, which were the target in 55% of incidents, compared to 24% in Q1. In looking at individual sectors, healthcare, financial institutions, manufacturing, real estate, and education were the most targeted industries in Q2.

By Amir Sadiq


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