Australian businesses likely to pay off ransomware attacks, research shows

Australian businesses likely to pay off ransomware attacks, research shows

When businesses in Australia and New Zealand fall victim to ransomware attacks close to one in three will cough up to secure their data.

This is the finding from research conducted by Rubrik, a cloud data management company, which also found 18 per cent of businesses in the region had experienced these kinds of attacks.

The insights come as Isentia Group (ASX: ISD) today informed shareholders it is "urgently" investigating a cyber security incident disrupting services.

Rubrik's findings emerged from the 'A/NZ Ransomware Survey, August 2020' that polled more than 150 Australian and New Zealand organisations across a range of industries.

Of those surveyed, the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry was the hardest hit by ransomware attacks, a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim's data unless a ransom is paid.

Of those who had fallen victim, 29 per cent admitted to paying off the criminal groups behind the ransomware attacks to regain access to their data. This was most prevalent in the BFSI (60 per cent) and government (33.3 per cent) sectors.

Managing director at Rubrik A-NZ Jamie Humphrey said the results were a sobering reminder of how important data is to business operations in the digital age.

"Unfortunately, faced with the prospect of either halting operations until data could be restored or paying criminal organisations to have their data returned, a significant number of local businesses thought they had no choice but to pay those holding their data hostage," he said.

"This shows how important immutable backups and mature backup regimes are to business resiliency. With a comprehensive backup strategy, operations can be up and running within an hour by simply restoring from a point-in-time before an attack without having to engage the criminals.

"Secure backups are the best data insurance policy businesses have against these insidious attacks."

This sentiment was also confirmed by Rubrik's research, with 89 per cent of businesses surveyed agreeing ransomware remediation is just as critical as prevention in an effective response strategy.

Other findings from the survey include how 80 per cent of organisations agreed the volume and severity of ransomware attacks had increased in the past two years, and 74 per cent agreed attacks were becoming harder to detect and remediate.

One third of respondents that fell victim to a ransomware attack said they took longer than a day to recover, while only 15 per cent were able to remediate in less than an hour.

In terms of the cyber security threats that were most common over the past two years, phishing was the most prevalent (51 per cent), followed by ransomware (43 per cent), and targeted social engineering (42 per cent).

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