November 22, 2019

Number of UK organistions paying ransomware has doubled: CrowdStrike

By Robert Scammell

The number of UK organisations paying ransomware demands from supply chain attacks has doubled in the past year, according to a report published by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

Globally, the number of organisations paying ransomware demands has jumped from 14% to 39% over the same period.

Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts files and demands a payment to unlock them, has made a resurgence this year – particularly in the US. Supply chain attacks target a weak link in an organisation, such as a third-party vendor.

Overall, the total number of ransomware attacks has been on the decline since the height of the WannaCry attack in 2017. However, this year has seen a rise in the number of targeted ransomware attacks in which criminals tailor the ransom amount to specific companies.

Is paying the ransomware demand a good idea?

In almost every case cybersecurity experts warn against paying the ransom. There is no guarantee that the criminal will unlock the files after the payment is made and paying also makes the criminal activity profitable. Those that pay are also added to so-called ‘suckers lists’, which makes them more likely to be targeted again.

This year it emerged that a number of cyber-insurance firms had been encouraging victims to pay ransomware demands, a move that was widely criticised by cybersecurity experts.

CrowdStrike, based in Sunnyvale, US, surveyed 1,900 senior IT decision-makers and IT security professionals across 11 countries. Of those, 200 respondents were based in the UK.

Elsewhere the report found that UK IT decision-makers were most worried about cyberattacks from Russian groups (82%), followed by China (74%) and North Korea (67%).

There was some good news for the UK, with organisations taking an average of 39 hours to detect a cyber threat compared to a global average of 120 hours.

Read more: No More Ransom Project saves ransomware victims $108m, free of charge