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Report finds 1 in 5 businesses suffered 6 or more ransomware attacks this year

Mimecast’s 2022 State of Ransomware Readiness report has found that 70 per cent of Australian cyber security leaders say the number of cyber attacks against their company has increased since last year.

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Fri, 28 Oct 2022
Report finds 1 in 5 businesses suffered 6 or more ransomware attacks this year
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The Mimecast research revealed that almost a quarter of respondents or one in five businesses (20 per cent) said they sustained six or more ransomware attacks in the past year — higher than any other country/region surveyed including Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Nordic countries, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, the UK, and the US.

Meanwhile, 57 per cent (compared to 55 per cent globally) think cyber attacks will bring down part of the critical national infrastructure in Australia (e.g. utilities, banks, transport etc.) in the next two years.

While it’s positive to see recognition for cyber in the updated federal budget with $12.6 million committed to combat scams and online fraud, Nick Lennon, VP APAC at Mimecast, noted there’s a long way to go in achieving a strong national security posture.

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“Further investment and initiatives are required to help bring down these figures.

Building up cyber resilience requires time, planning, sufficient budget and resources and simply can’t remain as an afterthought post breach,” Lennon said.

Other key findings for Australia:

  • Forty per cent of organisations have experienced significant downtime because of ransomware attacks, up from 33 per cent last year.
  • Thirty per cent say it would take one to two days to return to normal business after an attack. Yet 33 per cent said they could only withhold two to five days before sustaining significant financial loss and reputational damage.
  • Forty-one per cent of organisations have experienced a loss in revenue due to a ransomware attack in the last 12 months.
  • Twenty per cent said the cost of an attack was between $50,000 – 100,000.
  • Fifty-three per cent are concerned that their cyber insurance will refuse to pay out for ransoms in the future.

The Mimecast 2022 State of Ransomware Readiness report also uncovered the following for Australia:

Business implications

  • Forty per cent of organisations have experienced significant downtime because of ransomware attacks, up from 33 per cent last year.
  • Thirty per cent say it would take one to two days to return to normal business after an attack.
  • Yet 33 per cent said they could only withhold two to five days before sustaining significant financial loss and reputational damage.
  • Forty-one per cent of organisations have experienced a loss in revenue due to a ransomware attack in the last 12 months.
  • Fifty-three per cent are concerned that their cyber insurance will refuse to pay out for ransoms in the future.

Human toll of ransomware

  • Many professionals are reaching their breaking point, as 34 per cent are considering leaving their role in the next two years due to stress or burnout.
  • Thirty-one per cent experienced an increased number of absences due to burnout following an attack.
  • Fifty-seven per cent would feel very personally responsible in the event of a ransomware attack, up from 54 per cent last year. Fifty-nine per cent said the reason being is, “It is my job to protect the company from cyber attacks.”
  • Cyber security decision-makers are under mounting stress and many of them are reaching breaking point and 56 per cent say that their role gets more stressful every year.
  • Fifty-six per cent say that ransomware attacks have a negative impact on their mental health.

Cyber awareness/measures

  • Forty-six per cent of respondents believe the most effective measures to reduce ransomware attacks is to train employees on how to recognise email threats. This highlights the need for company-wide awareness and accountability.
  • Sixty-seven per cent said end users weren’t adequately trained on security awareness.
  • Sixty-three per cent maintain backups of files in the cloud or on-site to combat cyber attacks.
  • Fifty-one per cent say that growing media coverage of ransomware attacks is causing increased pressure to prepare.

Ransomware tactics used by cyber criminals

  • Sixty-one per cent say phishing emails with ransomware attachment was the main tactic used in attacks, compared to 53 per cent global.
  • Supply chain attack (41 per cent) and compromised credentials (40 per cent) was also listed as a tactic.
  • Forty-seven per cent of businesses have encountered network-wide attacks, 50 per cent had also experienced ransomware using encryption.
  • Mobile ransomware was used in 46 per cent of attacks in Australia, compared to 39 per cent globally.

The cost of ransomware attacks

  • Twenty per cent of businesses had been asked to pay between $500,000 – $999,999 for their information to be returned.
  • The approximate total cost of the ransomware attack (including ransom payment, systems recovery, additional security, additional staff, etc.) was in the region of $50,000 – $99,999 for one in five or 20 per cent of businesses, and $1-2 million for 13 per cent of those surveyed.

Lennon added that there is more to be done from the government, businesses and employees.

The recent cyber security governance principles released by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), as well as the government’s proposal to increase fines for serious or repeated privacy breaches, are a step in the right direction," Lennon said.

[Related: Data rights advocates warn real estate sector security breach would be chaos]

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