Avoiding and identifying ransomware became progressively tougher in 2017, as the amount of ransomware variants increased by 46%.  In the next 2 years, security experts predict businesses will fall victim to an attack every 14 seconds, which is up from every 40 seconds this year.new years day 2914931 1920

New research suggests that 2018 could be the most severe year for cyber-attacks and data loss, as those responsible for the attacks have honed their social engineering skills, meaning cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and refined.

Attacks and costs on the rise

A data protection survey commissioned by private technology company Acronis, revealed that 60% of respondents had never heard of ransomware at all.  This number may come as a shock to some, especially considering that ransomware cost a collective $5bn in 2017, a figure that is set to rise to $11bn by 2019.

16% of those surveyed claimed to have ‘just heard of it’ when asked about ransomware.  15% of respondents said that they ‘probably could’ explain what ransomware was, while only 7% said they could ‘definitely’ explain.  Unless organisations and individuals properly educate themselves on what ransomware is and the risks it poses, these costs are likely to increase even further, with 31.9% saying that they had previously opened an email or clicked on a link from a sender they could not identify.

Intelligent attackers

Cyber criminals are increasing their social engineering skills, enabling them to bypass traditional anti-virus software by exploiting security flaws.

Those behind the attacks now understand how important and effective a backup is, which is why many new variants of ransomware now target backup software and backup files.  The survey by Acronis revealed that 33% of respondents don’t backup their data, with 62% not being aware that ransomware had the ability to encrypt files and backups.

Victims stand their ground

Despite the increased number of cases, most have no intention of paying cyber criminals following a ransomware attack, with 95% of those surveyed confirming that they would not pay an attacker to retrieve their data.

“This combative attitude, however, is not helped by the lack of measures taken to protect personal data in the first place,” said John Zanni, Chief Marketing Officer at Acronis.

“Ransomware attacks have made headlines over the past year. Yet despite the growing number of attacks, the awareness of the problem and the importance of preventing the attacks seem to be slowing down.  Awareness to help people realise the importance of securely backing up and protecting data needs to grow.”

At SCS Technology Solutions, we help organisations stay safe and take the necessary precautions in the digital world.  Get in touch with us today to see how we can keep your data secure, and your business running efficiently.