A recent study called the “Second Annual State of Ransomware” from Malwarebytes and Osterman Research surveyed 1,054 businesses and 1000 employees across the globe in countries such as France, Germany, UK, Singapore, and the USA.
The survey, as can be deduced from the title, was to understand how Ransomware affected these businesses. What the study found out isn’t something that would put a smile on your face. For instance, the study found that around 1 in 6 companies that had been affected by Ransomware experienced downtime longer than 25 hours. In some case, the downtime lasted for over a week. 22% of companies had to shut down their operations almost instantly while another 15% ended up losing their revenue.
Interestingly, the study also found that these companies prioritized their fight against Ransomware, but, were unable to actually execute their strategies due to the lack of confidence in their own methods. Unfortunately, Ransomware doesn’t wait for this kind of indecisiveness; it spreads and infects at a rapid rate.
The worst hit
It was also found that SMBs in Europe were hit the worst and most of them weren’t okay with paying the ransom. The most vulnerable turned out to be financial services while the least affected seemed to be those in the transportation sector.
The study also discovered that the number of companies attacked was almost the same as the number of companies that used anti-Ransomware solutions.
In a similar study conducted by Webroot, it was reported that around 42% of businesses considered Ransomware to be a significant threat and that it ranked at number 5 in a list of most common concerns. It ranked behind other methods of attack such as Phishing, DDoS Attacks, Mobile Attacks, and New Forms of Malware Infections.
Now, SMBs seem to be the biggest victims here because they simply do not have the time or money for enhancing their security setup. They are the most vulnerable of the whole lot.
Though there aren’t any clear solutions in place for SMBs, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. According to an OnMSFT report, Microsoft suggests getting rid of the SMBv1 file sharing protocol from the system. The protocol is believed to play a key role in helping hackers spread Ransomware such as Petya and WannaCry via networks. SMBv1 was also exploited by another flaw called SMBLoris, which can affect every version of the protocol across all iterations of Windows till 2000.
In the fall update for Windows 10, Microsoft will likely get rid of the protocol once and for all. However, if your business is still running an older version of Windows, your only hope is to disable SMBv1.
The point here is that SMBs need to take things a little seriously. Ransomware can be a huge setback if you aren’t careful. The lack of proper security resources only makes SMBs more vulnerable. Therefore, such businesses need to make the most of what they have and pay heed to every suggestion that is offered.
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