A jeweler in Britain recently filed a case against its insurance company, as the latter refused to cover the ransom payment worth $7.5 million that they had to pay in bitcoin. Hackers were paid the ransom to prevent them from publishing sensitive customer data.
British jeweler files lawsuit
Graff, a luxury British jeweler, recently filed a lawsuit against The Travelers Companies, which is its insurance company. This was because the company refused to cover a ransom payment that the jeweler had made in bitcoin.
Conti, a hacking gang from Russia, had gotten access to the jeweler’s data and threatened to leak the data of some of its big clients, including royalty in the Middle East. Graff had to negotiate with the hacking group, which had demanded a ransom of $15 million and they brought it down to $7.5 million to be paid in Bitcoin.
Last year in September, Graff found itself hacked by Conti and the Russian gang ended up leaking data about the royal families from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia. While the hacking group did apologize to the royal families, it said that it would leak more data about the British jeweler.
According to the hacking group, they would continue to publish as much information as possible about the financial declarations of the neo-liberal plutocracy of the EU-UK-US. It said that these continue to make expensive purchases, even when their countries are under a great deal of economic duress.
Even though businesses and individuals have been discouraged by authorities from making ransom payments, such circumstances make it necessary to pay because the damage that the cyber attack can inflict is certainly higher than that of the ransom.
Cyber insurance policies
There are some insurance companies out there that have cyber insurance policies and these also cover ransom paid in cryptocurrencies. However, experts have said that organized crime will be funded inadvertently by insurers when claims are paid to companies that paid the ransoms in the first place.
Last year, the chief executive of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) in Britain, Ciaran Martin said that people were paying criminals in the form of bitcoin and getting cash through insurance. He said that this can be avoided because it is only providing companies with incentives to pay the ransom to eliminate the problem.
He added that the law applicable to insurance in these circumstances should be changed and such payments should be banned, or there should at least be a consultation with the industry on this matter. As far as Graff’s ransom payment is concerned, a spokesperson of the company said that cybercriminals had targeted the private purchases of their clients.
Therefore, the company was ready to take all the steps necessary for protecting its interests. Hence, they negotiated with the hacking gang and reached a payment that could neutralize the threat. The jewelry firm added that Travelers’ refusal to cover the payment had been disappointing and frustrating. It said that they had no other option but to settle the matter legally.