Delinea, a provider of Privileged Access Management solutions for seamless security, published its 2022 State of Ransomware Report which finds that things may be looking up in the fight against ransomware. Cyber-attacks using the popular compromising tactic have declined significantly over the past 12 months compared to the previous year, and fewer companies are paying ransoms. Still, there are red flags in the annual report related to spending, planning, and using cybersecurity tools available to combat ransomware.
The survey of 300 US-based IT decision makers, conducted on Delinea’s behalf by Censuswide, found that only 25% of organisations were victims of ransomware attacks over the past 12 months, a stunning 61% decline from the previous 12-month period when 64% of organisations reported being victims. Furthermore, the number of victimised companies who paid the ransom declined from 82% to 68%, which could be a sign that warnings and recommendations to not pay ransoms are being heeded. Larger companies are much more likely to be victims of ransomware, as 56% of companies with 100 or more employees said they were victims of ransomware attacks.
Along with these positive results, the survey also raised concerns that a potentially reduced threat could lead to complacency. Budget allocations for ransomware are in decline, as only 68% of those surveyed said they are currently allocated budget to protect against ransomware versus 93% during the prior year. The number of companies with Incident Response Plans also declined from 94% to 71%, and only half are taking proactive, proven steps to prevent ransomware attacks such as enforcing password best practices (51%) and using Multi-Factor Authentication (50%).
“The reduction of ransomware attacks is an encouraging sign, but organisations need to make sure they keep their guard up against this constant, evolving threat,” said Art Gilliland, CEO of Delinea. “Staying vigilant by maintaining a strong least privilege approach backed by stronger password protection, authentication enforcement, and access controls can help continue this downward trend.”
“In today’s globalised economy, cybersecurity trends are largely mirrored across international markets. So, while our study focused on US organisations, the ransomware insights it presents can certainly inform businesses in the UAE as well,” Mohammad Ismail, Regional Director – Middle East, Delinea, “The results indicate significant, positive shifts in how we have come to view the ransomware landscape in recent years. Together with an overview of the possible reasons behind these results, the 2022 State of Ransomware Report also highlights some potential pitfalls. It should therefore be taken into account at this critical period when Middle East businesses are setting out their cybersecurity budgets and strategies for the year ahead.”
The survey also revealed that the consequences of ransomware attacks are now more tangible, as more respondents specified that their companies lost revenue (56%) and customers (50%) compared to the previous year. Fewer organisations (43%) reported reputational damage as a result of being victims of a ransomware attack.