49% of European businesses confirmed cyber-ransom was the number one attack motivation in 2016
49% of European businesses confirmed cyber-ransom was the number one attack motivation in 2016

Five percent of businesses surveyed by Radware admit to keeping Bitcoins on hand in preparation for paying ransoms to regain access to data and machines that have been hijacked by cyber-criminals.

Despite cyber-ransom attacks doubling in Europe, less than half of businesses feel prepared to defend against ransom attacks.

And some businesses have gone to the extraordinary length of purchasing bitcoins ahead of an attack as part of their emergency response plan to ensure they have the means to pay cyber-criminals should they get hijacked.

New research from Radware revealed that 49 percent of European businesses confirmed cyber-ransom was the number one attack motivation in 2016, followed by competition (30 percent), political hacktivism (27 percent) and insider threats (20 percent).

Respondents to the survey included 598 individuals from North America (44 percent), Europe (26 percent) and Asia (20 percent).

A quarter of European IT professionals said they were worried about a full or partial outage from cyber-attacks, 23 percent said data leakage or loss was their key cyber-security concern, 18 percent said reputation loss, seven percent were concerned with service degradation and six percent feared customer or partner loss.

Forty-four percent of European businesses said they had no cyber-security emergency response plan in place. Seventy-seven percent said they didn't have cyber-insurance for their business.

In the past year, half of all organisations surveyed around the globe experienced a malware or botnet attack, and 55 percent said that IoT complicates their detection or mitigation requirements.

Global respondents felt least prepared to defend against Advanced Persistent Threats (43 percent) followed by ransomware (47 percent) and socially engineered threats such as phishing or fraud (49 percent).

Seven percent of global respondents keep bitcoins on hand for ransoms.

Due to massive DDoS attacks in 2016, 35 percent of global respondents reported impact to their servers, 25 percent claimed damage to their internet pipe and 23 percent said large-scale attacks caused the failure of their firewall.

More than 76 percent of European DDoS attacks reported by organisations were under 1 Gbps.

Pascal Geenens, EMEA security evangelist at Radware said, “Attackers have expanded their skillset and are leveraging new tools in their attempts to access lucrative data. Whether it is a ransom attack to lock a company's data, a DDoS smokescreen to facilitate information theft or a brute force attack to attempt to gain direct access to internal data, attackers have shown that unprepared businesses will be easy targets.

“We expect these attacks to continue to gain momentum as the darknet becomes mainstream and offers relatively easy and affordable access to powerful tools and hacking services that can wreak havoc on businesses. The scope of attacks available will also grow due to the huge increase in unsecure IoT connected devices that reside in our homes, offices and even on our person.”