Barracuda Networks, Inc., has published its 2023 Ransomware Insights report, which shows that 73 percent of the organizations surveyed state that they were hit by at least one successful ransomware attack in 2022. 38 percent say they were hit twice or more. The organizations that were hit multiple times were more likely to say they’d paid the ransom: 42 percent of those hit three times or more paid the ransom to restore encrypted data, compared to 31 percent of victims of a single attack. They were also less likely to use a data backup system to help them recover.
The survey, conducted by independent research firm Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Barracuda, questioned IT professionals from frontline to the most senior roles at companies with 100 to 2,500 employees, across a range of industries in the US and EMEA and APAC countries.
There were significant variations in the industries targeted by ransomware. For example, 98 percent of consumer services and 85 percent of energy, oil/gas, and utility organizations experienced at least one ransomware attack. The energy, oil/gas, and utility industry was also the most likely, at 53 percent, to report two or more successful ransomware incidents.
The findings show that for 69 percent of organizations, the ransomware attack started with a malicious email, such as a phishing email designed to steal credentials that would allow the attackers to breach the network. Web applications and traffic are in second place and represent an area of growing risk as part of an ever-expanding threat surface.
Organizations with cyber insurance were more likely to be affected by ransomware: 77 percent of organizations with cyber insurance were hit with at least one successful ransomware attack, compared to 65 percent without cyber insurance.
The research also found that 27 percent of the organizations surveyed feel they are not fully prepared to deal with a ransomware attack.
“The number of organizations affected by ransomware in 2022 likely reflects the widespread availability of low cost, accessible attack tools through ransomware-as-a-service offerings,” said Fleming Shi, CTO, Barracuda. “The relatively high proportion of repeat victims suggests that security gaps are not fully addressed after the first incident. The security industry has an essential role to play in helping organizations to defend themselves against ransomware, through deep, multilayered security technologies that include advanced email protection and backup as well as threat hunting and extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities to stop malicious activity in its tracks.”