Technology / Two thirds of UK businesses hit by ransomware have paid up, survey shows

Two thirds of UK businesses hit by ransomware have paid up, survey shows

Nearly two thirds of UK businesses hit by ransomware attacks have paid up to cyber criminals, according to new statistics.

A survey by Trend Micro found that although 74 per cent of firms who have not been attacked say they would never pay, 65 per cent of those hit by attacks have handed over ransoms.

However, only 45 per cent of those who were infected got their data back, meaning that one in five companies paid up but never regained access to their files.

44 per cent of UK businesses were hit by ransomware in the last 24 months, the survey found, and 27 per cent of those were attacked more than once.

One organisation in the survey was targeted as many as five times.

Those businesses who were affected said roughly a third of their employees and customers were affected by their ransomware infections, the results showed.

Bharat Mistry, a cyber security consultant at Trend Micro, said ransomware has quickly become a major issue for security professionals because “it works”.

“When faced with a ransom situation, most organisations simply cannot afford to part with the encrypted data and are forced to fork out the requested amount, often more than once,” he said. “Caving in to the demands of cyber extortionists only reassures them of their strategy and perpetuates the threat cycle.

“That’s why companies must adequately protect themselves against ransomware and avoid playing by attackers’ terms.”

According to the survey, the average ransom received by companies in the UK was £540, although 20 per cent of firms were asked for more than £1,000.

89 per cent of attacks put a time limit on paying the ransom, with 57 per cent of firms having less than 24 hours to pay up – the national average was 19 hours.

Meanwhile, firms spent an average of 33 man hours solving problems caused by ransomware infections, the survey found.

81 per cent of companies affected contacted a law enforcement agency, although they were only able to assist in 51 per cent of those cases.

For more from the survey, see the Trend Micro website.

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