Councils in the UK are being held to ransom by cyber-criminals attempting to collect profitable financial rewards.

According to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request carried out by Avecto, 30 percent of UK councils suffered at least one ransomware attack in 2015. One council reported suffering 13 separate attacks throughout the year.

Of the councils that suffered an attack, 65 percent said they did not pay a ransom, while 35 percent did not confirm if they did or not, proving that they likely suffered data loss to some degree.

FOI requests were sent to 46 UK councils, 32 of which responded. Furthermore, nine councils withheld information under the Freedom of Information Act, which suggests that statistics could be even higher.

“Businesses are a lucrative target and employees are often naïve to the risks. But stopping ransomware is much simpler than many people think. In fact, these attacks can be stopped by technology that exists today and just isn't often implemented. With a smart and proactive approach that stops these threats from ever executing, organisations can allow their employees to focus on their day jobs without worrying about the threat of ransomware,” said Paul Kenyon, co-founder and co-CEO at Avecto.