40% of companies suffer ransomware attacks

Attacks result in lost revenues and business for victims

Security firm Malwarebytes has revealed 40 per cent of companies have fallen victim to ransomware attacks in the last 12 months.

More than a third of organisations have lost significant revenues as a result and a fifth were forced to close their business.

Malwarebytes asked 540 CIOs, CISOs and IT directors from large companies with an average of 5,400 employees about their experiences with ransomware over the last 12 months.

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The report also revealed almost half of all attacks were triggered by employees opening malicious emails globally, although this dropped to 39 percent for UK companies.

"Over the last four years, ransomware has evolved into one of the biggest cyber security threats in the wild, with instances of ransomware in exploit kits increasing 259 percent in the last five months alone," said Nathan Scott, senior security researcher at Malwarebytes and ransomware expert.

"Until now, very few studies have examined the current prevalence and ramifications of actual ransomware incidents in the enterprise."

Respondents to Malwarebytes' survey said the average demand from criminals in ransomware attack was more than $1,000.

However, 20 per cent said $10,000 was demanded before the hackers would decrypt the data and one per cent said more than $150,000 had been requested.

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Worryingly, almost half of companies are paying up in order to keep their data.

"The results from this survey further emphasize that any business in any region is incredibly vulnerable to ransomware," said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes.

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"Cybercriminals are increasing their use of ransomware in their attack strategies globally, causing business disruption, loss of files and wasted IT man-hours. In order to stay safe, businesses must invest heavily in both employee education and technology. We are thrilled to be able to give companies a solution that can thoroughly protect them against ransomware threats."

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