Procurement · 17 March 2016

One in ten ransomware attacks targeted at micro firms

ransomware
One-third of firm owners have suffered from five or more days where they cannot access vital business data

Ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent and affecting more people within small firms, according to new research by cloud computing company Intermedia – with 12 per cent of such attacks now targeted at micro businesses.

The new report into this type of hacking also revealed that the biggest cost posed by attacks is not the money demanded by attackers – who target highly sensitive data to take hostage – but the business downtime which results from such security breaches.

Such downtime – which occurs because machines must be taken offline in order for malware to be removed and files to be restored – adds an additional cost to the hundreds of pounds which hackers ask for to release data.

Just under one-third of firm owners that have been victims of this kind of attack have suffered from five or more days where they cannot access vital business data, the research  revealed.

Richard Walters, Intermedia senior vice president of security products, said: “With hours of downtime and complete operational standstill, ransomware attacks can often be the commercial death blow for small firms. As 41 per cent of attacks are aimed at SMEs, it is essential that smaller companies don’t underestimate this growing threat.

“Business owners must put adequate measures in place to protect themselves against the worst and add ransomware to the list of scenarios contemplated in their disaster recovery plans. Mitigating these risks requires provisions for accessing critical business information quickly and reliably, even after file servers and workstations have been compromised.

This way, companies can quickly get back to work again while simultaneously dealing with the fallout of the attack.”

Ransomware attacks are also increasingly damaging brands when they use business websites to target customers.

Prominent media platforms including the New York Times, BBC and AOL were affected in March by a high profile recent attack where hackers used advertising networks to install hostage software on users’ computers.

Additional research published by the Institute of Customer service in November 2015 found that a staggering 83 per cent of the UK public do not trust business owners to keep their data safe.

To discover more about cyber attacks, don’t miss our fraud series.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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