German insurer Allianz issued a warning on Wednesday that companies already facing supply chain bottlenecks could in addition be targeted by hackers seeking ransom.
Producers that provide essential goods are among the targets particularly at risk, in the view of AGCS, the Allianz business insurance unit.
IT systems providers with multiple servers in client companies are another potential target, the Munich-based insurer, which is one of the world’s largest in the sector, said.
Cybercriminals could use these providers to install ransom software on a number of computers in different companies within a brief period, Allianz warned in a Cyber Report published on Wednesday.
Attacks on supply chains were “the next big trend,” AGCS manager Jens Krickhahn said.
Ransomware attacks of this kind had been carried out over recent months, the report said. In the attacks, the computers of the companies affected are effectively shut down until ransom is paid.
A common method is to install the software by means of an email attachment. Hackers were able to shut down the US fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline in May with knock-on effects along the entire US East Coast.
The ransom demanded has soared. Whereas five years ago, sums lower than 10,000 dollars were common, according to Krickhahn in 2020 there were demands of up to 30 million dollars. “These days we are seeing demands at the level of 50 million dollars,” the AGCS manager said.