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Ransomware attack study

One in five (20 per cent) medium to large UK businesses do not have any contingency measures, in case of a ransomware attack; and almost half of British businesses (48 per cent) are failing to back up their company data at least once a day, it is suggested. Research – commissioned by Citrix and carried out by Censuswide – quizzed 250 IT and security specialists in companies with 250 or more employees across the UK to look at their strategies to defend against cyber and ransomware attacks.

The poll also found that a third (33 per cent) of UK companies are now building a ready stockpile of digital currency (for example, Bitcoin) in case of ransomware attack, with over 35 per cent of large firms (those with over 2,000 employees) willing to pay over £50,000 to regain access to important intellectual property (IP) or business critical data.

Chris Mayers, chief security architect, Citrix, said: “Today’s threat landscape is more advanced, more determined and better equipped than ever before to exploit the weaknesses of organisations – many of which house a potential data goldmine. This research has further highlighted the sheer volume of questions to be answered by companies across the UK, with many simply not prepared for a cyberattack that could result in the loss of mission critical data, reduced revenues and a decline in public trust.”

Smaller companies are more likely to keep a ready supply of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, than larger businesses:

Over one in three (36 per cent) of businesses with 250-500 employees store cryptocurrencies;
Over half (57 per cent) of firms with 501-1000 employees have a stockpile of digital cash; and
Less than one in five (18 per cent) businesses with more than 2,000 employees seeing a need for building their digital currency stockpiles

While these findings suggest smaller firms are perhaps placing a greater emphasis on cybersecurity, over one in ten (13 per cent) have admitted to never serialising their backup data files, leaving them more vulnerable to a ransomware attack. Nearly one in three (32 per cent) IT and security specialists believe the government is not providing adequate guidance on how to avoid cyberattacks. With the government last updating its ‘10 Steps to Cyber Security’ guidance nearly 18 months ago, these findings suggest that those in charge of safeguarding their company’s all-important data are calling for more from leaders.

Chris Mayers added: “These findings emphasise the importance of building a robust IT network that safeguards users from cyberattacks. Using dedicated techniques, such as encryption and virtualisation, companies keep data safely locked away and inaccessible to hackers – protecting them from costly breaches and significant reputational damage.”


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