More Than Two-Thirds of Organizations Are Targets of at Least One Ransomware Attack

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Most organizations are more concerned about ransomware than other cyber-threats. This is a key finding from the 2021 Global State of Ransomware Report  by cybersecurity company Fortinet

Unveiled today, the survey also reveals that while the majority of organizations surveyed indicated they are well prepared for a ransomware attack, including employee cyber training, risk assessment plans and cybersecurity insurance, there was a clear gap in what many respondents viewed as essential technology solutions. 

Based on the technologies viewed as essential, organizations were most concerned about remote workers and devices, with Secure Web Gateway, VPN and Network Access Control amongst the top choices. While ZTNA is an emerging technology, it should be considered a replacement for traditional VPN technology. However, the low importance of segmentation (31%) was most concerning, a critical technology solution that prevents intruders from moving laterally across the network to access critical data and IP. Likewise, UEBA and sandboxing play a crucial role in identifying intrusions and new malware strains, yet both were lower on the list. Another surprise was secure email gateway at 33%, given phishing was reported as a common entry method of attackers.

Organizations More Concerned about Losing Data

The top concern of organizations regarding a ransomware attack was the risk of losing data, with the loss of productivity and the interruption of operations following closely behind. In addition, 84% of organizations reported having an incident response plan, and cybersecurity insurance was a part of 57% of those plans. Regarding paying the ransom if attacked, the procedure for 49% was to pay the ransom outright, and for another 25%, it depends on how expensive the ransom is. Of the one-quarter who paid the ransom, most, but not all, got their data back.

Ransomware Concerns Consistent Globally

While, for the most part, the findings of the survey were consistent among respondents globally, there were a few differences regionally. For example, respondents in EMEA and LATAM were more concerned about ransomware attacks and more likely to be victims than their peers in North America and APJ, (79% and 78% respectively compared to 59% in North America and 58% in APJ.) In addition, phishing lures were the primary attack vector in North America, while in APJ and LATAM, remote desktop protocol exploits and open vulnerability ports were the primary attack vectors.

The Need for Integration and Intelligence

Almost all respondents view actionable threat intelligence with integrated security solutions or a platform as critical to preventing ransomware attacks and see value in AI-driven behavioral detection capabilities.

While almost all of those surveyed felt they are moderately prepared and plan to invest in employee cyber awareness training, the survey showed that organizations need to recognize the value of investing in technologies. 

Commenting on the news, John Maddison, EVP of products and CMO at Fortinet, said: “According to a recent FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape report, ransomware grew 1070% year-over-year. Unsurprisingly, organizations cited the evolving threat landscape as one of the top challenges in preventing ransomware attacks.

"As evidenced by our ransomware survey, there is a huge opportunity for the adoption of technology solutions like segmentation, SD-WAN, ZTNA, as well as EDR, to help protect against the methods of access most commonly reported by respondents," he added. 

"The high amount of attacks demonstrates the urgency for organizations to ensure their security addresses the latest ransomware attack techniques across networks, endpoints, and clouds. The good news is that organizations are recognizing the value of a platform approach to ransomware defense.”

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