India tops 30 nations list globally for ransomware attacks

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Mumbai: India topped the list of 30 countries globally for ransomware attacks. Around 68% of organisations in India surveyed hit by ransomware in the last 12 months revealed Sophos’ global survey findings. The ransomware attacks have dipped compared to last year where 82% of organisations in India had suffered from ransomware attacks.

Sophos’ The State of Ransomware 2021 report revealed that the average total cost of recovery from a ransomware attack has more than doubled in a year, increasing from $761,106 in 2020 to $1.85 million in 2021 globally.

In comparison, the survey found that in India, the approximate recovery cost from the impact of a ransomware attack tripled in the last year, up from $1.1 million in 2020, to $3.38 in 2021.

About 67% of Indian organisations with encrypted data paid a ransom to get back their data – an increase of 1% over last year. In fact, Indian organisations were the most likely to pay a ransom of all countries surveyed: the global average was just under one third (32%).

The average ransom payment in India was $76,619. However, paying up often doesn’t pay off: Indian organisations that paid the ransom got back, on average, 75% of their data (compared to a global average of 65%) and only 4% got all their data back.

5,400 IT decision-makers from mid-sized organisations in 30 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, including 300 respondents in India participated in this survey.

It revealed that 86% of Indian organisations believe cyberattacks are now too complex for their IT team to handle on their own, compared to a global average of 54%.

Additionally, the findings revealed that of the organisations in India not hit by ransomware in the last 12 months, the overwhelming majority (86%) expect to become a target. The top reason given for this (57%) is that ransomware attacks are getting increasingly hard to stop due to their sophistication.

According to Sophos’ India and SAARC MD – Sales, Sunil Sharma the proportion of Indian organisations hit by ransomware has declined compared to the previous year. But they are still far more likely to be hit than those in any other country surveyed.

“This could be due to the high level of domestic ransomware in India, as seen by SophosLabs, leading to a situation where Indian adversaries are targeting Indian organisations. Furthermore, while the drop in attacks is welcome, it reflects, at least in part, changes in attacker behaviours,” said Sharma.

“At Sophos, we have seen attackers switching to more targeted attacks that include human hands-on-keyboard hacking in order to bypass an organisation’s defenses. It is harder and more expensive for businesses to recover from these complex attacks, which can leave their operating budgets significantly affected,” he added.

The findings show the brutal fact of paying a ransom to get data restored can be illusory, noted Sharma.

“Ransomware attacks are not going away and it is more important than ever to protect against the attackers’ malicious manoeuvres. If organisations are attacked they don’t need to face this challenge alone. Support is available 24/7 in the form of external security operations centres, human-led threat hunting and incident response services,” concluded Sharma

Independent market research firm Vanson Bourne conducted the State of Ransomware 2021 survey in January and February 2021. The survey interviewed 5,400 IT decision-makers in 30 countries, in the US, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Austria, France, Germany and the UK.

Also, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. All respondents were from organisations with between 100 and 5,000 employees.

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