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Crisis Communications in a Hostile Cyber Landscape

By Bethan Moorcraft writing in Business Insurance Australia…

A few years ago, if a company suffered a cyberattack, the message they would relay was often: “We’re experiencing technical difficulties,” or “We’re dealing with a cyber incident.” But in today’s technology-first society, with ransomware and other cyberattacks so prevalent, crisis communication strategies have changed.

Ransomware is “no longer a dirty word,” according to Meredith Griffanti (pictured), managing director at FTI Consulting, and head of the firm’s global cybersecurity & data privacy communications practice. Rather than trying to hide a breach, today most companies will come out and say: ‘We’ve been hit with a ransomware attack. Here’s what we’re doing to contain it, remediate it, protect consumer information, and this is how we’re planning to strengthen our systems going forward to make sure this doesn’t happen again.’

We’ve seen that strategy in multiple high-profile ransomware attacks this year, including the attacks against meat processing giant JBS and the Colonial Pipeline. Interestingly, not only did both companies publicly disclose relevant details of their attacks, but they also revealed that they had paid ransoms of approximately US$11 million and US$4.4million, respectively, to free up their systems.

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