When data disappears and machines come to a standstill

Global enterprises, SMEs or private individuals – no one is immune from cyber attacks. Sometimes, even just a simple typo can lead to computer chaos. Let us show you prominent cyber incidents from the past three years.

Typo causes computer chaos

A cyber incident doesn’t always have to be a targeted attack: a typo by a technician in an Amazon data centre at the start of 2017 caused a domino effect of consequences because services were interconnected. Hundreds of internet services from the American online seller were down or had limited access. Getting everything back up and running took much longer than expected.

A shipping company works without IT

Was it about ransom money, or just pure sabotage? In summer 2017, numerous companies fell victim to a broad-scale hacker attack. The Trojan ransomware NotPetya also caught Danish shipping company Maersk. Maersk’s container shipments were disrupted for weeks. It sustained damages of several hundred million dollars. As CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe reported, 45,000 client computers and 4,000 servers had to be reinstalled. Employees worked with pen and paper until the technology was back in operation.

Hospitals stop treatment

One of the most infamous cyber attacks was caused by malware WannaCry, which assaulted a number of companies in May 2017. Among those affected was French automotive manufacturer Renault, American logistics company FedEx, Deutsche Bahn and government ministries in Russia. A particularly serious case happened in the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service was attacked. Lab reports and patient data could no longer be accessed in hospitals. Many clinics had to close temporarily.

Pharmaceutical enterprise runs out of vaccine

Pharmaceutical giant Merck was also affected by the NotPetya attack. In this case, the infected computers led to production failures. With machines down, the demand for the Gardasil vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, could not be met for a time, along with the demand for other medicines. To continue its ability to supply medicines, Merck bought stocks of its own product back from US health authorities. The costs of the cyber attacks are said to be in the billions.

Printing boss negotiates ransom

SMEs are also interesting targets for cyber criminals. At the end of 2018, printing shop Braun und Klein in Saarland, Germany, suddenly lost access to client data, its salary and wage program, and banking software. Hackers used malware to encrypt the data and demanded a ransom for decryption. The printing shop was originally to pay 4,500 euros in bitcoins, but the extortionists were negotiated down to 3,500 euros. The true damage, however, was the business interruption. Machines could not be operated for weeks. According to the printing shop’s own figures, the costs were more than 70,000 euros.

Advent calendar with stolen data

The broad public has also been a target for cyber attacks, as social network Facebook reported in autumn 2018 that data from around 30 million clients had been hacked. The young hacker then appeared in German media in January 2019: the 20-year-old had gained access to personal data from politicians and other prominent individuals and published the information bit by bit throughout December 2018 – in a digital Advent calendar.

Insurable or not? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Not all financial damages and costs from the cases described here are insurable. Cyber experts from Funk will be happy to show you what the insurance models available on the market cover and where the limits of insurability are.

Hendrik Löffler | Michael Winte | Stefan Wolff

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