Australian SMEs hit hardest in the world by Ransomware attacks

Australian SMEs hit hardest in the world by Ransomware attacks

Small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Australia and New Zealand hold the highest rate of Ransomware attacks in the world according to new cybersecurity research.

IT solutions provider Datto's latest global research shows that SMEs in Australia and New Zealand have the highest rate of reported Ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that makes business data inaccessible until a ransom is paid.

In Australia and New Zealand 91 per cent of SMEs have reported attacks in the last two years.

Globally, 85 per cent of managed service providers (MPSs) have reported Ransomware attacks over the last two years, compared to 79 per cent in 2018.

In the first half of 2019 alone 56 per cent MSPs reported Ransomware attacks against SME clients.

Despite these concerning figures Datto says there remains a disconnect between the reality of the situation and how SMEs are reacting to the threat.

According to the survey 89 per cent of MSPs report that SMEs should be concerned about the threat, but only 28 per cent of MSPs report that SMEs are actually 'very concerned' about the threat.

The cost of Ransomware attacks is high, with the average cost of downtime as a result of an attack coming to $208,000, a 200 per cent increase on the average cost in 2018.

Datto says that SMEs are unprepared for a Ransomware attack, with only 60 per cent of SMEs utilising two factor authentication on email clients and only 61 per cent using password managers, despite the fact that the majority of MSPs says that phishing emails are the leading cause of Ransomware breaches at SMEs.

"Ransomware attacks most often succeed through very sophisticated phishing techniques for example, when someone clicks on something they shouldn't and the malware infiltrates their contact list the attackers then use those credentials to exploit further," says head of services at ICT company ASI Solutions Daniel Johns.

"As such, a proactive approach to cybersecurity, including user awareness and training, is vital."

Datto APAC regional director James Bergl says the statistics should be a wakeup call for Australian SMEs.

"It is no surprise that the frequency and sophistication of ransomware attacks against SMEs in Australia and New Zealand is on the rise, but recording the highest rate globally of reported attacks in this region is a wakeup call for SMEs," says Bergl.

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