Ransomware: A quarter of infected SMEs cease operations immediately

Nearly a quarter of small businesses infected with ransomware have to cease operations immediately, according to a new cyber security report.

Research by Malwarebytes found that more than a third of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees were infected with ransomware in the last year.

Of those that were attacked, 22 per cent said the ransomware affected them to a degree where they were forced to cease their operations immediately.

For one in six small businesses, a ransomware infection led to 25 or more hours of downtime, with some reporting outages of up to 100 hours. 15 per cent said their infections led to a loss of revenue.

For 27 per cent of organisations that suffered a ransomware infection, decision makers could not identify how they became infected.

More than a third of ransomware infections spread to other devices, and two per cent of businesses said they impacted every device on their networks.

The advice from cyber security experts is that cyber criminals’ ransoms should never be paid, and 72 per cent of SMEs surveyed said they would never pay up. Of those that chose not to pay, around a third lost files as a result.

“Businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk for ransomware attacks,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO at Malwarebytes, commenting on the findings.

“However, the stakes of a single attack for a small business are far different from the stakes of a single attack for a large enterprise.

“Osterman’s findings demonstrate that SMBs are suffering in the wake of attacks, to the point where they must cease business operations.

“To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in their ability to stop an attack, despite significant investments in defensive technologies.

“To be effective, the security community must thoroughly understand the battles that these companies are facing, so we can better protect them.”

In the wake of the recent WannaCrypt ransomware outbreak, SME Magazine brought you top tips to help protect your business against ransomware.

For more from the report, see the Malwarebytes website.

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