A Cyberattack Allegedly Knocked Insurance Giant CNA Offline

A Cyberattack Allegedly Knocked Insurance Giant CNA Offline
Photo: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP, Getty Images

CNA Financial, one of the largest insurance providers in the U.S., is currently experiencing widespread network disruptions.

The company’s website isn’t working, nor can its phone lines be reached. Employee services have been down for at least 48 hours, said a source close to the company. Sources suggest that the firm has been hit with a cyberattack or, potentially, a ransomware situation.

On the company’s website, a banner simply reads: “CNA is currently experiencing a network disruption that is impacting some of our systems. We are working to address these issues to minimise the disruption to you.”

According to The Insurer, an insurance industry news outlet, the company’s network may be out for a while:

CNA Financial Corporation’s website and some systems are down amid suggestions the Chicago-headquartered insurer has been hit with a suspected cyber attack with the incident understood to have caused disruption on the underwriting and claims side of its business.

If that is, indeed, what has occurred, one factor that makes this incident potentially more concerning than your average cyberattack is the fact that CNA is one of the larger providers of cyber insurance in the country. Oft touted as a way to protect businesses, in a case like this cyber insurance might have the exact opposite effect.

Joshua Motta, CEO of security firm Coalition, said that a hack like this, a “nightmare scenario” and could involve a hacker getting their hands on cyber insurance policyholder data. Why? Because that data would give a hacker exact information about how much money policyholders are capable of paying out in the event of an attack. Usually, ransomware hackers must make educated guesses about how much a company can shell out to get their data back, and a company can always claim that it doesn’t have the money — a crucial bargaining chip for the victim. With the insurance data, however, that bargaining chip would be gone — and hackers could conduct much more efficient attacks.

Again, this is all speculative — though it certainly would appear something significant has happened to CNA. When reached by phone Tuesday, a company representative couldn’t immediately provide information on what had occurred. We will update this story if more information becomes available.