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C-Suite execs wouldn't pay ransom attacks, survey finds

Mon, 4th Jul 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

It seems C-Suite execs are unlikely to pay a ransom if their systems get hacked – that is until next time.

According to Radware's 2016 Executive Application - Network Security Survey, some 84% of information technology executives at firm firms that had not faced ransom attacks say they would never pay a ransom.

Among firms that had been attacked, 43% paid, according to the survey.

“This is a harbinger of the challenging decisions IT executives will face in the security arena,” says Carl Herberger, Radware vice president of Security Solutions.

“It's easy to say you won't pay a ransom until your system is actually locked down and inaccessible,” he says.

“Organisations that take proactive security measures, however, reduce the chance that they'll have to make that choice.

In addition to the responses to ransom attacks, Radware's survey found which security threats most weigh on the minds of the C-Suite and senior executives.

Former hackers are seen as reliable watchdogs: Senior executives see former bad guys as the best way to test their systems. Some 59% of respondents said they either had hired ex-hackers to help with security or were willing to do so, with one respondent saying, “Nothing beats a poacher turned gamekeeper.

Firms see telecommuting as security risk: Work-from-home arrangements are seen as an increasing risk. The survey found a big jump in changes to telecommuting policies, with 41% of respondents saying they have tightened work-from-home security policies in the last two years.

Wearables require more than a dress code: While about one in three companies implemented security policies around wearables in the last two years, 41% said they still have no rules in place, leaving a growing number of end points potentially vulnerable. Perhaps this is because wearables aren't seen as a major target—only 18% pointed to wearables when asked what hackers would most likely go after in the next three to five years.

New connected devices will be the next security frontier: While wearables were less of a concern, many executives surveyed think the Internet of Things (IoT) could become a bona fide security problem. Some 29% said IoT devices were extremely likely to be top avenues for attacks, similar to the percentage of nods received for network infrastructure, which received 31%.

Cleaning up after a cyberattack can be expensive: More than a third of respondents in the U.S. said an attack had cost them more than $1 million, and 5% said they spent more than $10 million. Costs in the U.K. were generally lower, with 63% saying an attack had cost less than £351,245 or about $500,000, though 6% claimed costs above £7 million.

Security risk is business risk: Whether motivated by ransomware or another factor, attacks impose significant reputational and operational costs on victims. When executives named the top two risks they face from cyberattacks, brand reputation loss led the pack, with 34% of respondents choosing that as a big fear. Operational loss (31%), revenue loss (30%), productivity loss (24%), and share price value (18%) were also included in the top concerns.

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