The number of ransomware attacks has gone up to 78 per cent in India in 2021, from 68 per cent in the previous year. This is the highest rate of ransom payment reported across all 31 countries surveyed by cyber security solutions firm Sophos for the State of Ransomware 2022 report.
The average ransom paid by Indian organisations stood at $1.19 million, with 10 per cent of the victims ending up paying ransom of $1 million or more. About 78 per cent of the organisations had paid the ransom to get their data back, according to the report.
After gaining access to the computer networks in an organisation using social engineering techniques, hackers steal critical data and block access to it. They demand ransom from the victims to unblock access. They also threaten to publish the data on online platforms if ransom is not paid.
Impact of damage, disruption
The global report by Sophos, based on a survey of 5,600 mid-sized organisations in 31 countries, studied 300 organisations in India.
“The ransomware situation in India is worrying. The numbers of victims, ransom payments and the impact of these attacks continued to rise during 2021, at considerable cost,” Sunil Sharma, Managing Director (Sales) of India and SAARC, said.
“While the average expense of recovering from an incident declined to $2.8 million from $3.4 million in 2020, it remains a significant number that should be sounding alarm bells among management teams,” he said.
It took, on average, one month to recover from the damage and disruption. About 97 per cent of the organisations said the attack had impacted their ability to operate, while 92 per cent of them said they had lost business because of the attack.
Cyber insurance to the rescue
Interestingly, cyber insurance had come to the rescue of some organisations that are well covered. “About 89 per cent of the mid-sized organisations had cyber insurance. And, in 100 per cent of incidents, the insurer paid some or all the costs incurred,” he said.
He felt that cyber criminals will continue to see India as a prime target, seeing a high proportion of victims paying the ransom.
How to guard organisations
Sophos asks organisations to install and maintain high-quality defences across all points. It is important for them to review security controls regularly and make sure they continue to meet the organisation’s needs.
“Besides, you need to proactively look out for threats to identify and stop adversaries before they can execute their attack,” the report said.
“You need to harden the IT environment by searching for and closing key security gaps such as unpatched devices and unprotected machines,” it said.
“You should backup the data every now and then so that organisations can resume work as soon as possible, with minimum disruption,” it pointed out.
May 04, 2022