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SMBs paid out £222m in ransomware demands last year

(Image credit: Image Credit: WK1003Mike / Shutterstock )

Five per cent of all small and medium-sized companies in the entire world were victims of a ransomware attack in 2016 alone, with the money paid out to reclaim data reaching new highs, research has revealed. 

Datto's new State of the Channel Ransomware Report (opens in new tab), found that an estimated $301 million (£222 million) was paid to ransomware hackers from 2016-2017.

The report, which was based on a poll of more than 1,700 managed service providers that work with more than 100,000 SMBs, also found that 99 per cent of respondents believe the number of ransomware attacks will increase in the next two years.

The financial strain that happens due to these attacks, is not just because hackers demand ransom, it is also because of downtime and data loss. According to Datto, the latter is even a bigger issue.

“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 report also states that ransomware attacks have been more frequent this year. More attacks have also been reported to the authorities, however the majority of incidents is still kept a secret.

It was also said that fewer SMBs now pay ransom once they’re attacked. Out of those that do pay, 15 per cent never get their data back. 

No industry is safe from the attacks, however construction, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services and finance are the biggest targets.

“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.”

Image Credit:  WK1003Mike / Shutterstock 

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.