How Many Companies Suffer Ransomware Attacks And Pay the Ransom?


Many companies may not fully understand the danger that ransomware poses to their businesses, according to a new HornetSecurity survey findings.

The London-based security provider's worldwide study of 820 IT professionals sought to determine if companies “truly understand the gravity of the threat” the lock-down malware poses and whether they are adequately protected.

Here are the research findings:

  • Roughly one in five companies has been victimized by ransomware. The findings are consistent with an earlier study Hornet conducted that found one in four businesses had suffered an email security breach.
  • Nearly one in 10 companies believed they had no choice but to pay a ransom to recover their data. More than 90 percent said that although they were attacked, they were able to recover their data from backup. However, some of those that recovered their data without paying a ransom still ended up losing files in the process.
  • About 60 percent of reported ransomware attacks affect server infrastructure and network storage. Inasmuch as network storage is used to store sensitive data which can be shared between multiple users simultaneously, without access to that information many organizations cannot operate.
  • While roughly 17 percent of ransomware attacks target vulnerabilities in backup data, some 15 percent of companies do not secure their backups. Should a cyber hijacker encrypt a company’s backup data it becomes useless as a ransomware protection. Similarly, only 16 percent of companies have a disaster recovery plan in place.
  • The threat of ransomware has changed the way 71 percent of companies backup their data. The two most common forms of protection are end-point detection software with anti-ransomware capabilities and email filtration and threat analysis. Both methods are used by 3 out of every 4 respondents. Nearly half of the respondents use air-gapped off-site storage if they are breached by ransomware.
  • Slightly less than 30 percent of companies do not provide training to end-users on how to recognize and flag potential ransomware attacks. The most vulnerable business size is that with 201-500 employees, with just over 1 in every 4 being the victim of an attack.
  • More than 1 in 10 companies claim to be confident that their backups would be safe from a ransomware attack, but do not protect their backups from ransomware.
  • Over 22 percent of companies think that Microsoft 365 data cannot be impacted by ransomware attacks, or do not know if it can be impacted. Many believe that as long as data is stored in the cloud, it isn’t possible for ransomware attackers to target it.

To stave off a ransomware attack, Hornet recommends multiple solutions that can work together to mitigate the threat:

  1. Employee training: Employees who are capable of recognizing a potential ransomware threat and reporting it to the right people can be just as valuable as any piece of cybersecurity software.
  2. Effective spam filter: Software capable of scanning email attachments and discarding malicious ones can help to keep scammers at bay.
  3. Secure backups: Most organizations understand that having backups for their most important data is a no-brainer. Protecting those backups, however, is just as important.
D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.