Over a third (36%) of companies who paid a ransom to cyber criminals went on to be targeted for a second time, according to specialist insurer Hiscox.

According to their latest Cyber Readiness Report, which is based on the views of over 5,000 organisations of all sizes across eight countries*, found the industries that were forced to pay a ransom were those with ‘just-in-time’ supply chains: food and drink (62%), manufacturing (51%) and leisure (50%).

Paying a ransom may not work

However, paying a ransom does not always work out the way businesses hope it will. Of those businesses that did pay, 43% still had to rebuild their systems, even though they received a recovery key from the hackers. Alarmingly, nearly a third (29%) who paid a ransom demand still had data leaked, and over a quarter (26%) felt that the attack had a significant financial impact by threatening the solvency and viability of their business. In addition, more than four in 10 (41%) of those that paid ransom demands to cyber criminals failed to recover all their data.

Cyber attacks continue to rise year on year

The report also shows that the frequency of cyber attacks has increased by 12% year-on-year – with 48% of businesses suffering an attack in the past 12 months. Of those attacked, 19% were victims of ransomware, compared to 16% in the previous year.

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The Hiscox report also reveals that phishing remains the number one point of entry for cyber hackers (62%) to successfully infiltrate businesses in a ransomware attack. This was closely followed by entry using credential theft (44%), a third-party supplier (40%), an unpatched server (28%), and brute force credentials, such as password guessing (17%).


How to protect your business against attack

Gareth Wharton, Hiscox Cyber CEO, commented: 'Ransomware is still the most prevalent and damaging form of cyber attack and it is not uncommon for a company to be hit multiple times. Even if a business owner makes the decision to pay the ransom, often they cannot fully restore their systems or prevent a data breach. That is why it is vital that businesses take the necessary steps to protect their data and systems against a cyber attack; making it harder for cyber criminals to gain entry to their systems by keeping software up-to-date, running regular in-house training, and frequently backing-up data.

'Our report shows that investing in building robust cyber defences and preparing an effective response for an attack are more effective than paying cyber criminals. It is revealing that more than a quarter (26%) of businesses we surveyed paid a ransom in the hope of recovering their data because they did not have any back-ups, when regular and robust back-up processes can be one of the most effective ways of mitigating the impact of a ransomware attack.'

Read the latest Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report