The new Kaspersky report, “How business executives perceive ransomware threat” discovered that in 88% of organizations previously attacked by ransomware, business leaders would choose to pay a ransom if faced with another attack. Across organizations that have yet to be victimized, only 67% would be willing to pay, and they would be less inclined to do so immediately. While ransomware remains a prominent threat, with two-thirds (64%) of companies already having suffered an attack, paying ransom seems to be perceived by executives as a reliable way of addressing the issue.
Ransomware has become something of a buzzword in the corporate world, with large attacks on enterprises appearing in headlines week after week and the number of attacks using ransomware almost doubling in 2021 alone. These statistics raise the question of how businesses will react in the event of an attack and what their attitudes towards paying ransoms to the criminals behind them will be.
According to the report, if an organization has been the victim of ransomware in the past, they are increasingly likely to pay a ransom in the event of a new attack (88%). These companies are also more inclined to pay as soon as possible to get immediate access to their data (33% of previously attacked companies versus 15% of companies that have never been victimized), or to pay after only a couple of days of unsuccessful decrypting attempts (30% vs. 19%).
Business leaders within organizations that have previously paid a ransom seem to believe that this is the most effective way to get their data back with 97% of them willing to do this again. This willingness for companies to pay could be attributed to having little awareness of how to respond to such threats, or to the length of time it takes to restore data, as businesses can lose more money waiting for data restorations than they would paying the ransom.
Ransomware remains a real threat to cybersecurity. Two-thirds (64%) of companies confirm they have experienced this type of incident and 66% anticipate that an attack on their business will happen at some stage, viewing it as more likely than other common attack types, such as DDoS, supply-chain, APT, cryptomining or cyber-espionage.
“Ransomware has become a serious threat to corporations with new samples regularly emerging and APT groups using it in advanced attacks. Even an accidental infection can cause problems for a company. And because it's about the business’ continuity, executives are forced to make tough decisions about paying the ransom. Giving money to criminals is never recommended though, as this doesn’t guarantee that the encrypted data will be returned and it encourages these cybercriminals to do it again. At Kaspersky, we are working hard to help the business community avoid such outcomes. It is important for companies to follow basic security principles and look into reliable security solutions to minimize the risk of a ransomware incident.” says Sergey Martsynkyan, VP, Corporate Product Marketing at Kaspersky.
Here are the key steps Kaspersky recommends to enhance protection against ransomware:
Always keep software updated on all your devices to prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities and infiltrating your network.
Focus your defense strategy on detecting lateral movements and data exfiltration to the internet. Pay special attention to outgoing traffic to detect cybercriminals’ connections to your network.
Set up offline backups that intruders won’t be able to tamper with. Make sure you can quickly access them in the event of an emergency.
Enable ransomware protection for all endpoints. Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business is a free tool that shields computers and servers from ransomware, along with other types of malware, preventing exploits. It is compatible with already installed security solutions.
If you’re an enterprise company, use anti-APT and EDR solutions for advanced threat discovery and detection, investigation and timely remediation of incidents, and access to the latest threat intelligence. Use an MDR provider to help effectively hunt advanced ransomware attacks. All of this is available with Kaspersky Expert Security.
If you become a victim, never pay the ransom. It won’t guarantee you get your data back but it will encourage criminals to continue their business. Instead, report the incident to your local law enforcement agency. You can find a decryptor at https://www.nomoreransom.org