A recent survey conducted by cybersecurity experts at Hornetsecurity, of over 820 businesses, found that 21 per cent of respondents had been the victim of a ransomware attack to date.

Ransomware is one of the most common and effective forms of cyber threat, whereby attackers encrypt an organisation’s data, rendering it unusable until a ransom is paid.

Of the 21 per cent of companies that reported a ransomware attack, 9.2 per cent recovered the data by paying the demanded ransom.

Graphic: Hornetsecurity

The remaining respondents recovered the ransomed data through backups, yet some still reported losing data in the process.

According to the results, companies with 201-500 employees reported the highest incidence of ransomware attacks (25.3 per cent), while those employing one to 50 had the lowest (18.7 per cent). In geographical terms, 19.6 per cent of North American companies reported attacks, while those based in Europe reported 21.2 per cent.

More than 15 per cent of all survey respondents indicated that their company does not protect their backups from ransomware. Moreover, the survey also found that 17.2 per cent of reported ransomware attacks targeted backup storage.

These results reveal a cause for concern: that standard on-site backups do not offer 100 per cent protection against ransomware attacks.

Indeed, backups must be protected against ransomware attacks through methods such as air-gapped, offsite storage or immutable storage – two commonly reported protection methods in this survey.

A total of 15.9 per cent of respondents also reported having no disaster recovery plan in place, meaning they are typically unprepared and unequipped to deal with an attack.

Graphic: Hornetsecurity

End-users represent one of the most effective methods-of-entry for ransomware attackers.

Through social engineering techniques such as email phishing, end-users are manipulated into providing opportunities for malicious software to be introduced into company systems.

According to this survey, more than 1 out of every 4 organisations (28.7 per cent) do not provide training to end-users on how to recognise and handle potential ransomware threats.

Graphic: Hornetsecurity

Most common forms of backup and ransomware protection and prevention
71.3 per cent of companies changed the way they back up their data in response to the threat of ransomware.

The two most common forms of prevention observed in the survey are end-point detection software with anti-ransomware capabilities (75.6 per cent), and email filtration and threat analysis (76.1 per cent).

Air-gapped, offsite storage is reported to be used 47.8 per cent of the time – a low percentage when considering its effectiveness at enabling extraordinary data recovery.

To read more about the survey, along with a more in-depth analysis, click here.

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