Notwithstanding the absence of a congressional war declaration since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Zurich American Insurance Company has invoked a “war exclusion” in an attempt to avoid covering Illinois snack food and beverage company Mondelez International Inc.’s expenses stemming from its exposure to the NotPetya virus in 2017. The litigation, Mondelez Intl. Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., No. 2018-L-11008, 2018 WL 4941760 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Cty., complaint filed Oct. 10, 2018), remains pending in an Illinois state court.
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In a recent article published in Internet Retailer, Syed Ahmad, Lorelie (Lorie) Masters, and Katie Miller discuss the risks retailers face when using smartphone-reliant technology and contactless payment systems, including ransomware attacks and other security breaches, and the insurance coverage necessary to address these potential risks.

Beginning last Friday, and still occurring today, one of the worst and most widespread malware attacks has impacted more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries, including Britain’s National Health Service, FedEx, telecommunications companies Telefonica and Megafon, and automakers Renault and Nissan. The malware, known as “WannaCry,” disables the user’s computer system and all of its data. A note in a text file then appears stating that in order to unlock the computer, $300 worth of the digital currency bitcoin must be paid to the hackers. A countdown timer appears and the fee increases with time. The hackers threaten to delete all data on the computer system if payment is not sent within one week. Cybersecurity experts believe that the malware was sent to computers through “phishing attacks,” which are emails that appear to be from reputable sources and include a download to a link that allows the malware to infect the computer. From these computers, the malware then spread to other computers on the network. One infected computer can spread this virus network-wide, and quickly.

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Reports of recent cyberattacks continue the discussion we started with yesterday’s blog post about common hurdles to coverage.  The hurdle for today’s discussion?  Ransomware.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise.  Security services company SonicWall reported that ransomware attacks increased by a factor of 167, from 3.8 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016.  Similarly,