Businesses paid £222M to ransomware hackers last year

Datto’s survey of small-to-mid-sized businesses is the largest of its kind to date, suggests ransomware attacks continue to accelerate.


Datto, Inc. has revealed the results of its second annual global State of the Channel Ransomware Report. As the largest survey of its kind, the report provides unique visibility into the current state of ransomware from more than 1,700 managed service providers (MSPs) who work with more than 100,000 small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) around the world. Ninety-nine percent of MSPs predict uptick in attacks will continue across the next two years.

The survey also found that approximately 5 percent of all SMBs worldwide fell victim to ransomware over the past year. Most of the financial strain, the survey found, occurs not as the result of the ransom demanded by malicious hackers, but because of the resultant downtime and data loss.



“The impact of downtime affects SMBs far more than the cost of ransom requests. Seventy-five percent of MSPs reported having clients who experienced business-threatening downtime as a result of a ransomware attack,” said Robert Gibbons, Chief Technology Officer, Datto.



The survey also provided additional insights, some surprising:

Ransomware incidents are more frequent in 2017 according to 97 percent of MSPs. Eighty-six percent of MSPs cited small business clients victimised by ransomware within the last 2 years and 15 percent report six or more attacks affecting their clients over the last year. Twenty-six percent of MSPs cited multiple attacks against clients in a single day. More ransomware attacks are being reported to the authorities, but the majority of incidents are not. From 2016-2017, slightly less 1 in 3 SMB ransomware attacks were reported to authorities, an improvement from less than 1 in 4 from 2015-2016. Fewer small businesses are paying the ransom. Thirty-five percent of MSPs reported small business victims pay the ransom, 15 percent of whom do not recover their data. In the United Kingdom, this population jumps to 21 percent. An estimated $301 million (£222 million) was paid to ransomware hackers from 2016-2017. No industry, operating system or device is safe from these attacks. Among those industry verticals who are targeted most by ransomware attacks are construction, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services and finance. SaaS applications continue to be a growing target for ransomware attacks with Dropbox, Office 365 and G Suite most at risk. Mobile and tablet attacks are also on the rise. When it comes to ransomware awareness, the majority are still in the dark. While 90 percent of MSP respondents cited they are “highly concerned” about the business threat of ransomware, only 38 percent of small business clients felt the same. This could be due to the lack of mandatory cybersecurity training across small businesses, which MSPs cited as the leading cause of ransomware infections. CryptoLocker remains the most popular strain of ransomware attacks. Additionally, new strains like WannaCry also broke the top five most cited attacks by MSPs.  Ransomware outsmarts today’s top security solutions, so backup and disaster recovery is essential. With a reliable backup and recovery solution (BDR) in place, 96 percent of MSPs report clients fully recover from ransomware attack.

“Ransomware outbreaks and the risks they pose to company data have become one of the primary operational concerns for our customers,” said Colin Blumenthal, Managing Director at Datto MSP partner Complete IT. “We know that defensive solutions are failing to prevent outbreaks, so organisations should also be deploying backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions alongside cybersecurity training for staff. Every time we’ve implemented this approach for a customer, we’ve been able to help recover data quickly, drastically mitigating the impact of any downtime.”


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