Ransomware attacks are no less of a threat now than they were in the early days of cyber security. The question is, is your business’ data secure? There’s good and bad news when it comes to ransomware attacks in 2019. The good news: the number of ransomware attacks has been in decline. The bad news? Every other metric related to this threat is on the upward trend — higher ransom payments, more downtime loss and longer recovery time. The attackers have only gotten more strategic. Let’s take a look at six key trends that have been significant so far this year.
- Increasing Ransom Payments
Compared to previous years, attackers are withholding data from victims for increasingly high ransom amounts. The average ransom amount paid by victims increased 89 percent from $6,733 in the last quarter of 2018, to $12,762 in the first quarter of 2019. In the healthcare sector, records from the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that data breaches tripled year over year, going from over 5.6 million in 2017 to approximately 15.1 million last year.
- Greater Downtime
In just the past three months, companies have spent more time recovering from attacks than they did in any past quarter. The average downtime in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 6.2 days, jumping to 7.3 days in the first quarter of 2019. As the average recovery time has increased, so has the cost. The average downtime cost per attack is $65,645, varying by industry and location, jumping from $46,800 in 2018.
- More Aggressive Manual Attacks
Attackers have begun targeting high-value systems such as email, databases, document management and public-facing servers with a more intensive manual approach. Many ransomware attacks are now carried out in a semi-automated fashion with an operator manually hacking the network, rather than previous fully automated attack strategies. In the end, this is often more damaging for businesses.
- Incomplete Data Recovery After Ransom
Data recovery rates vary depending on: the encryption processes used by different ransomware, the quality of decryption tools and modifications of the encrypted files. As a result, rates can range from 80 to 100 percent of data recovered even after paying the ransom. Unfortunately, sometimes victims who pay the ransom never receive the promised decryption key, leading to full loss of their data.
- Manufacturing Companies as Targets
No company can be completely safe from hackers, and manufacturing companies seem to be targets more often this year than previously. However, this could also be a result of the type of cyber security plan these companies use.
- Mounting Healthcare Sector Vulnerabilities
Hacking accounted for more than 44 percent of tracked healthcare data breaches in 2018. This number is only going to continue to grow in years to come as attackers become more sophisticated. A notable vulnerability centers around IoT devices, which healthcare providers often leverage to monitor individuals’ health information and data. Reports predict that IoT-based attacks will continue to rise, accounting for an estimated 30 percent of cybersecurity incidents this year. Because of the significant number of unprotected IoT devices connecting to healthcare providers’ IT networks, cyberattacks in this industry are expected to be larger in scale until the healthcare sector focuses on securing their IoT communications.
While these trends identify many issues involving data storage, there are actions to prevent a ransomware attack from happening. The expert team at MDL can help make sure your data — and your company — is secure. Learn about our ransomware services on our website.