Study Finds Ransomware Hits Almost 40 Percent of Enterprises

Almost four out of every 10 businesses have been hit by ransomware over the past year, and instances of such malware in exploit kits have increased by 259 percent over just the past five months, according to a new study.

Conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of the anti-malware service provider Malwarebytes, the survey questioned 540 executives from companies in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Germany. According to the survey, more than one-third of the businesses that experienced a ransomware attack last year lost revenue and 20 percent had to shut down operations during those incidents.

Nearly half (46 percent) of all ransomware attacks were launched by emails with malicious attachments or links, and resolving a majority of those incidents took more than nine hours, the survey noted. The research also found that organizations in healthcare and financial services were the most common targets of ransomware attacks.

U.S. Businesses Heavily Targeted

Businesses in the U.S. are among the most heavily attacked by ransomware, and decision-makers in those organizations have little confidence in their abilities to prevent such threats, the survey found. However, U.S. companies are also less likely to report losing money due to ransomware, with just 6 percent doing so.

"The impact of ransomware in the United States was significantly less than in the other nations we surveyed," the report stated. "For example, only 12 percent of U.S organizations reported that ransomware 'stopped business immediately,' compared to Germany (13 percent), the United Kingdom (24 percent) and Canada (25 percent)."

Compared to companies in other countries, U.S. businesses tend to offer employees and other end users less training on how to detect and prevent ransomware, according to the study. However, it also noted that organizations in the U.S. tend to be more concerned about security "across the board." Enterprises in the...

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