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The 10 Biggest Cyber And Ransomware Attacks Of 2021

Technology, food production and critical infrastructure firms were hit with nearly $320 million of ransom demands in 2021, and reportedly paid the ransom in four of the year’s 10 largest cyber and ransomware attacks.

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5. CNA Financial

Ransom Paid: $40 Million

A March cyberattack that shut down systems at Chicago-based insurance giant CNA exposed the personal information of thousands of employees, contractors, and policyholders. More than 75,000 people were affected by the hack, which revealed names, personal identification, and Social Security numbers, according to a data breach notification filed with the Maine attorney general’s office in July.

The March attack caused a network disruption that affected certain systems, including corporate email, The Chicago Tribune reported. It also shut down the functionality of CNA’s website, reducing it to a static display. CNA told the Securities and Exchange Commission that its own insurance policies may not cover potential damages. The hack was carried out by the group Phoenix using Phoenix Locker malware.

The insurance giant paid the hackers $40 million in late March some two weeks after a trove of company data was stolen and CNA officials were locked out of their network, Bloomberg reported in May. The company initially ignored the hackers’ demands while pursuing options to recover their files without engaging with the criminals. But within a week, CNA decided to start negotiations with the hackers.

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