Are Australians Ransomware ready in the face of constant cyber attacks?

Jonathan Miles, Head of Strategic Intelligence & Security Research, Mimecast

Mimecast Limited, a leading email security and cyber resilience company, announced the publication of its new report, “State of Ransomware Readiness: Facing the Reality Gap.”

There is a big rise in ransomware attacks and while all companies are a target, large enterprises bore the brunt, experiencing an average of 10,000 attacks in the past 2 years.

This new research report is based on a global survey of 742 cyber security professionals.

Resource gaps

Cyber security leaders are facing challenges related to technology, people and processes.

The shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in numerous new devices to protect, leaving organizations more vulnerable to ransomware through insecure networks.

State of Ransomware readiness

  • Phishing emails with ransomware attachments (54%), web security (47%), and phishing emails leading to a drive-by download (45%) as primary sources of ransomware attacks.
  • 45% reported they have file backups that would allow them to avoid having to pay the ransom, or to mitigate damage from an attack.
  • 45% would like the budget to fund more up-to-date data security systems.
  • 46% of executives want more frequent security awareness training for end-users.
  • 40% of respondents want greater sharing of threat data.

Preparedness vs confidence

Mimecast research has shown that ransomware attacks are widespread and prevalent.

80% of organizations have been targeted and experienced an average of 3,000 attacks over the past two years, or four per day. Yet, “The State of Ransomware Readiness” found that 77% of executives are confident in their company’s preparedness for ransomware attacks.

The contradiction may be a result of

  • 83% of executives believe they can get all their data back without paying the ransom directly contradicting the fact that 39% of organizations paid the ransom.
  • 77% of executives believe they can bring their company back to normalcy in 2 to 5 days.
  • 78% have received an incremental budget to help address the ransomware problem.
  • 60% of companies train their staff to recognize email threats that could lead to an attack.

Jonathan Miles, the Head of Strategic Intelligence & Security Research offered insights.

“Ransomware attacks have never been more common, and threat actors are improving each day in terms of their sophistication and ease of deployment.”

“Preparation is key in combating these attacks. It’s great to see cyber security leaders feel prepared, but they must continue to be proactive and work to improve processes.”

“Ransomware attacks pay well which gives cybercriminals no incentive to slow down.”

Ransoms vary widely across the globe

Responding executives were evenly split when it comes to paying the ransom, 41% did not pay, while 39% did. Thirteen percent of organizations negotiated their payments down.

The State of Ransomware Readiness found the average ransom to be:

  • Australia – AU$ 79,857 ($59,066 USD)
  • Canada – C$ 6,666,220 ($5,347,508 USD)
  • Germany – € 171,203 ($197,727 USD)
  • South Africa – R 3,261,352 ($213,884 USD
  • United Kingdom – £ 628,606 ($848, 377 USD)
  • United States – $6,312,190

Ransomware consequences reach C-Suite executives

Successful ransomware attacks can have devastating consequences for organisations.

Companies that fell victim to a ransomware attack noted disruptions to operations (42%), faced significant downtime (36%), lost revenue (28%) and lost current customers (21%).

The report found that these attacks are causing reverberations on an individual level.

  • 39% of executives feel they could lose their jobs over a successful ransomware attack.
  • 24% saw changes to their C-suite.
  • Two-thirds of executives would feel very or extremely responsible if an attack occurred.
  • When asked why they feel responsible, 60% said it’s their job to protect the company, and 48% said it would be because they underestimated the risk of a ransomware attack.