European financial hub the City of London is being deluged with ransomware, experiencing more attacks over the course of a year than the next ten regions of the UK combined, according to Malwarebytes.
The anti-malware vendor’s Data Science and Engineering team analysed threat intelligence for a little over a year from a ‘representative sample’ and found 10,500 attacks in the Square Mile.
To put this in perspective, the figure is 670% greater than that in the next biggest hit area: Manchester.
In fact, it’s bigger than Manchester, Birmingham, York, Peterborough, Surrey, Essex, Lancashire, Kent and the London Borough of Greenwich combined, according to the vendor's research.
“Given that only 7000 people live in the City of London, but hundreds of thousands commute there every day, it is not a great leap to assume these attacks involved compromised work systems,” said data science analyst, Nima Samadi. “With over 80 million square ft. of office space in just 1.1 miles – that is a hugely tempting target for the bad guys.”
The volume of attacks on the City was even greater than that experienced by some entire countries over the period, including Sweden, Malaysia and Hungary, the vendor added.
The insight chimes with a general perception that cybercriminals are increasingly going after organizations rather than individual consumers, as this means they’re able to up the ransom demand and stand a greater chance of the victim paying up.
Most famously the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center admitted to coughing up $17,000 to gain access back to critical data, after suffering severe outages that affected patient care during a ransomware attack.
A recent report by Trend Micro claimed that 44% of UK IT decision makers had been hit by ransomware infection at least once over the past two years.
Victims are urged to take preventative measures such as regularly backing-up, app whitelisting, network segmentation, and layered threat protection, rather than paying the ransom.
According to Trend Micro, one in five UK firms that paid up still didn’t receive the all-important decryption key to unlock their data.