66% of survey respondents who were hacked over the past 12 months state that they have been held to ransom for less than €1,000
Ward Solutions’ recent IT Security survey, conducted in association with TechPro magazine, revealed that cybercriminals have come up with new tactics to extort money from organisations through ransomware attacks.
The survey, an in-depth analysis of cybercrime and data storage trends in Ireland, presented some startling findings around data breaches and ransom demands. The responses revealed that two-thirds of those surveyed who had their data encrypted received a ransom demand for a fee of less than €1,000 during the past 12 months.
This new trend of demanding smaller fees is an interesting tactic being employed by cybercriminals. Companies are more likely to pay a small fee in order to avoid reputational damage amongst the public or other affected 3rd parties such as suppliers. This is supported by the survey finding that 46% of Irish companies would not report an incident of a data hack to impacted 3rd parties and almost 30% would not report the incident to the authorities.
A smaller fee means that a whole new target comes to the fore for cybercriminals and their ransomware attacks as more SMEs find themselves victims of cybercrime. While larger fees are cost prohibitive for SMEs, smaller fees of sub €1,000 are easier for them to contemplate paying to save their reputation. SMEs have smaller resources than larger enterprises but may still be hosting information that can be ripe for ransomware encryption in a location that is more vulnerable to attack.
The findings in the survey demonstrated that ransomware is a real and evident threat, and more importantly, that a significant number of Irish organisations have been targeted. This is in keeping with Ward Solutions’ experience in the marketplace in recent years, having witnessed a multitude of targeted approaches by attackers who seemingly know or infer the value of the data that they have encrypted to individual organisations.
What’s more, it appears that a significant percentage of companies are unprepared for a ransomware attack, with over a quarter of respondents stating that their company does not have a crisis management plan in place to deal with potential data compromises. A further 12% did not know if there was a plan in place. It is imperative to have a well communicated, well understood and well-rehearsed incident management response in place to minimise further loss. A data compromise requires a technical, information security and whole business response – something very difficult to achieve without a pre-prepared plan to battle cybercrime.
Ward’s view is that organisations both large and small need to develop deterrents to fend off cybercriminals and ransomware attacks by taking a holistic approach to their security requirements. This is based on the lifecycle of: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover. This can be integrated in an overall information security experience which can serve to keep data safe and reputations intact.
For best practice advice on combating cybercrime and ransomware threats, contact Ward Solutions today.