By Nop Srinara, Director, Datto Asia
Ransomware has dominated headlines in Asia-Pacific for the past few years, with high profile widespread attacks like WannaCry, GoldenEye and NotPetya, signalling a global epidemic and proving that any business, no matter how small, can be an attractive target for cyber criminals looking to make a fast dollar.
But as the media headlines die down, we might mistakenly think that the threat has gone away, when in fact, the situation may be quite the opposite. This is what we found in our 2018 State of the Channel Ransomware Report.
Released this week, the study, which is in its third year, included responses from more than 2,400 managed service providers (MSPs) supporting the IT needs of nearly half a million SMBs in Asia-Pacific and across the globe. Here’s what it found:
● Attacks remain frequent and expected to climb: More than 55 percent of MSPs stated their clients experienced a ransomware attack in the first six months of 2018, and 35 percent said their clients were attacked multiple times in the same day. Ninety-two percent of MSPs predict the number of attacks will continue at current or increased rates.
● Businesses in Asia-Pacific are more susceptible to ransomware attacks via Android and Software-as-a-Service applications than anywhere else, according to results.
● Humans still the weakest link: Most ransomware breaches are successful due to phishing attacks, malicious websites, web ads, and clickbait directed at small businesses. Ongoing training for employees to help them remain vigilant is a best practice for small businesses.
● Most businesses still don’t report attacks. The survey found that less than one in four ransomware attacks are reported to the authorities, which undermines the severity of the situation.
● Antivirus simply isn’t enough: 85% of MSPs reported that ransomware victims had antivirus software installed, 65% reported victims had email/spam filters installed, and 29% reported victims had had pop-up blockers, which failed to block ransomware attacks.
● Attacks on Apple users are increasing: There was a fivefold increase in the number of MSPs reporting ransomware attacks on macOS and iOS platforms over the last year.
● Revenue lost to downtime continues to cripple effected SMBs: The average attack is 10 times costlier to businesses than the ransom itself, with attacks costing businesses $46,800 on average, with ransom requested averaging $4,300 per attack.
● Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) technology is deemed the single most effective method for ransomware protection: 90% of MSPs report clients with BCDR in place fully recovered from an attack within 24 hours.
Looking at the results, it’s clear that ransomware still poses a serious risk to SMBs across Asia-Pacific and the world, and despite the best efforts of the tech industry and Governments the world-over to raise awareness of this threat among businesses, there is still complacency among the business community, with a lack of education and appropriate training leaving businesses vulnerable to attack.
Businesses need to remember that these attacks are happening every day, and as ransomware becomes more affordable on the dark web, it’s likely that attacks will become even more common place. There are immediate steps that companies can and should take to increase IT resilience and prevent against future attacks. Integral to those steps is end-user training, endpoint protection, and an intelligent backup.