New research has revealed that two in five (39 percent) large UK businesses have fallen victim to a “bluff” ransomware attack, with almost two thirds (61 percent) of those organisations paying out a ransom as a result.
The research - commissioned by Citrix and carried out by One Poll - quizzed 500 IT decision makers in companies with 250 or more employees across the UK to glean further insights into the threat of “bluff” ransomware attacks.
This refers to a criminal falsely stating that malicious software has successfully blocked access to an organisation's computer system or data but still demanding a sum of money to return access to the data.
The research also considered the extent to which ransoms are being paid by British businesses as a result of these incidents and whether – and with whom – affected businesses are sharing this information.
This research revealed that UK businesses hit with a “bluff” ransomware attack are paying the cyber-criminals responsible for the incident an average of £13,412.29. While almost two thirds of large British businesses have paid out between £10,000-25,000 following this type of scam, one in 20 (six percent) ended up paying over £25,000 as a result of these faked ransomware campaigns.
The poll also found that almost half (42 percent) of large British businesses have experienced a cyber-criminal claiming to have successfully launched a ransomware attack against their company system – and demanding payment.
When faced with this situation, the majority (93 percent) have considered whether it might be a “bluff”. Despite so many companies considering this possibility, just 37 percent of affected organisations avoided ‘“alling for the bluff” and chose not to pay out a ransom.
Chris Mayers, chief security architect, Citrix, said: “Cyber-criminals on the lookout for easy wins and lucrative targets are taking advantage of fears around ransomware to make money from ‘bluff' ransomware attacks. With so many UK businesses falling victim to these scams, learning to distinguish real threats from a false attack can save considerable sums.
Mayers added: “Organisations can pinpoint a real attack and completely eradicate it with the correct technical expertise – but this expertise is in short supply. Good cyber hygiene, on the other hand, is readily available. By committing to the most robust cyber-security techniques, companies can lessen the chances of falling prey to a real ransomware attack or creating any vulnerabilities which could lead them to believe their system has been hacked by cyber-attackers when it has not.”