Ransomware is one of the biggest security threats of 2017 and got the deserved media coverage and awareness in May thanks to the WannaCry widespread attacks.
As the decision makers fear now that their organisation will eventually be hit by a ransomware attack, they are willing to spend more on IT security and back-up solutions.
Demand for security solutions is growing especially within the 4 key industries which have been badly hit in the last few months:
Ransomware attacks increased 167 times in one year
In 2016 there have been 638 million ransomware attacks all over the globe. That’s more than 167 times the number of attacks in 2015. The FBI estimated that cybercriminals collected over £1 billion in ransoms during 2016, while actual losses suffered by organisations are certainly higher due to disruption of productivity and business continuity.
Cybercriminals are mainly targeting the industries which have critical data and essential services and losing access to these for an amount of time will bring crippling downtime.
Here are the top 4 industries that are actively fighting against the file-encrypting attacks and looking for the right security solutions:
1. SMB: 46% of all UK businesses identified at least one cyber security breach
Phishing and ransomware remain the most pressing security threats for UK business. The most recent studies show that the business and professional services sector accounted last year for one third of the ransomware attacks.
Just under half (46%) of all businesses identified at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to a government-backed survey published in May.
The survey, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, found that the most common types of breaches are related to staff receiving fraudulent emails (in 72 per cent of cases where firms identified a breach or attack). The next most common related to viruses, spyware and malware (33 per cent), people impersonating the organisation in emails or online (27 per cent) and ransomware (17 per cent).
2. NHS: Britain to spend around 50 million pounds on improving the security of NHS
In May NHS services across England and Scotland were hit by a large-scale cyber-attack that has disrupted hospital and GP appointments.
Operations and appointments were cancelled and ambulances diverted as up to 40 hospital trusts became infected by a ransomware attack demanding payment to regain access to vital medical records.
According to government officials, Britain is already spending around 50 million pounds on improving the security of the National Health Service’s computer systems being aware that the security needs to be improved as soon as possible.
And the local health authorities are racing to upgrade security software amid fears hackers could exploit the same vulnerabilities with a new wave of ransomware attacks.
3. Education: UK schools and top universities targeted with ransomware
Education is one of the most targeted industries by cyber-crime, mainly because this sector often lacks both funding and skilled IT personnel able to create contingency plans in the event of data breaches or ransomware attacks.
Last year 63% of British universities admitted to being targeted of a ransomware attack.
According to a Freedom of Information study, over half of these have suffered a ransomware attack in the past year. Moreover, one university admitted that it had suffered a total of 21 separate attacks throughout the year.
The schools are also easy targets. At the beginning of this year, UK police issued a warning to educational establishments to be vigilant, following an alert by Action Fraud that fraudsters are targeting UK schools with ransomware in order to demand big payments.
The number of these attacks will only increase in the near future, as schools and universities seem easy targets because of the limited available IT budget for security investments and lack of trained personnel.
4. Local Government: 30% of UK councils fell victim to attacks
In February, the UK City Council located in Tiverton lost two years worth of data because a ransomware attack. The city didn’t have electronic backups, therefore they intend to spend the next couple months re-scanning these documents back into their systems.
Luckily the financial and planning records were not impacted by the ransomware strike.
They are not the only one. Nearly a third (30 per cent) of UK councils fell victim to ransomware attacks last year, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
In 2017, ransomware will become an even larger problem. The one positive effect to come from these breaches is that key stakeholders are aware now of the costs of ransomware attacks and are more willing to invest in updating security infrastructure and procedures.
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