By Ryan Smith
Seventy-three percent of organizations polled by a new study reported being hit with at least one successful ransomware attack in 2022 – and 38% said they were hit with two or more.
The organizations that were hit with multiple attacks were more likely to say they had paid the ransom, according to Barracuda Networks’ 2023 Ransomware Insights report. The report found that 42% of those hit three times or more paid a ransom to restore encrypted data, while only 31% of those hit by a single attack paid the ransom.
The survey was conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne. It polled IT professionals at companies with between 100 and 2,500 employees, across a range of industries and around the globe.
The survey found significant variations in the industries targeted by ransomware, according to Barracuda Networks. For example, at least one ransomware attack was reported by 98% of consumer services businesses and 85% of energy, oil/gas, and utility companies. The energy, oil/gas, and utility industry was also the most likely to report two or more successful ransomware attacks, at 53%.
For 69% of surveyed companies, the ransomware attack began with a malicious email. Web applications and traffic were in second place, the survey found.
Organizations with cyber insurance were more likely to be hit by ransomware, with 77% of insured organizations experiencing at least one successful attack, compared to 65% without cyber insurance.
The study also found that 27% of organizations felt they were not fully prepared to deal with a ransomware attack. This lines up with the results of another recent survey, which found that mid-sized businesses were struggling to implement basic cybersecurity measures.
“The number of organizations affected by ransomware in 2022 likely reflects the widespread availability of low-cost, accessible attack tools through ransomware-as-a-service offerings,” said Fleming Shi, chief technology officer at Barracuda. “The relatively high proportion of repeat victims suggests that security gaps are not fully addressed after the first incident. The security industry has an essential role to play in helping organizations to defend themselves against ransomware, through deep, multilayered security technologies that include advanced email protection and backup, as well as threat hunting and extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities to stop malicious activity in its tracks.”
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