Almost 40 per cent of businesses hit by ransomware in the last year

Ransomware is spreading like wildfire. Security researchers Malwarebytes recently conducted a large, global study on the state of ransomware and the results are devastating.

Out of 540 polled CIOs, CISOs, and IT Directors from companies in the UK, US, Canada and Germany which have more than 5,000 employees – almost 40 per cent have been hit by ransomware in the last year.

More than a third lost revenue, and 20 per cent had to stop business completely.

“Over the last four years, ransomware has evolved into one of the biggest cyber security threats in the wild, with instances of ransomware in exploit kits increasing 259 percent in the last five months alone. The impact on businesses around the world has been significant,” said Nathan Scott, Technical Project Manager at Malwarebytes and ransomware expert.

“Until now, very few studies have examined the current prevalence and ramifications of actual ransomware incidents in the enterprise.”

Senior UK IT staff have been hit the hardest, even though they're usually confident they can stop the attacks, the report says.

Out of those who were attacked, 40 per cent decided to pay ransom. In the UK, more than half of CISOs paid the ransom. The demand went from $1,000 all the way up to $150,000 in some cases.

The UK has also had the highest amount of revenue loss, compared to all other countries.

More than three quarters of all ransomware (78 per cent) came through an endpoint, and almost half of all attacks (46 per cent) originated from an email.