SecurityBrief New Zealand - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
Story image
Ransomware guardrails failing — Cloudian research
Fri, 16th Jul 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

54% of ransomware victims have anti-phishing training, and 49% have perimeter defences in place at the time of attacks, according to research from cloud storage platform Cloudian.

The company today issued its 2021 Ransomware Victims Report, based on an independent survey of 200 IT decision-makers whose organisations experienced a ransomware attack between 2019 and 2021.

Findings from the survey — which revealed that the average cost of an attack totals over $400,000 — has prompted calls for organisations to divert attention towards systems that enable quick data recovery in the event of an attack without paying ransoms.

Despite defensive measures, ransomware gets in

Many organisations spend large portions of their cybersecurity budget on defensive measures such as anti-malware software and anti-phishing training for employees. But despite these efforts, ransomware attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, enabling cybercriminals to penetrate the defences, Cloudian says.

The survey found that:

  • Phishing continues to be one of the easiest paths for ransomware, with 24% of ransomware attacks starting this way.
  • Phishing succeeded even though 54% of all respondents and 65% of those that reported it as the entry point had conducted anti-phishing training for employees.
  • 49% of respondents had perimeter defences in place before the successful attack.
  • Public cloud was the most common entry point for ransomware, with 31% of respondents being attacked this way.

Attackers move fast 

Once cybercriminals can insert ransomware, they can quickly take over all aspects of an organisation:

56% of survey respondents reported that attackers were able to take control of their data and demand ransom within just 12 hours, and another 30% said it happened within 24 hours. Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed said the attacks significantly impacted their financials, operations, employees, customers and reputation.

Financial costs go beyond just ransom payments

Ransom payments are significant and rising, but they're not the only costs of an attack. For the 55% of respondents that chose to pay the ransom:

  • The average ransom payment was $223,000, with 14% paying $500,000 or more.
  • They spent an average of $183,000 more for other costs resulting from the attack.
  • Cyber insurance covered only about 60% of the ransomware payment and other costs, presumably reflecting deductibles and coverage caps.
  • Despite paying the ransom, only 57% of respondents got all their data back.

“The threat of ransomware will continue to plague organisations around the world if they do not change their approach and response to it,” says Cloudian chief marketing officer Jon Toor.

“Cyberattacks can penetrate even the most robust defences, so it's critical that organisations prioritise being able to recover quickly from an attack. The best way to do so is to have an immutable backup copy of your data, which prevents hackers from encrypting or deleting the data for a specified period of time.

“As a result, organisations can recover an unencrypted copy of their data in the event of an attack without having to pay the ransom.