Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed have not heard of ransomware and are not prepared for the new sophisticated attacks; yet damages are predicted to cost the world $11.5 billion in the next 12 months, which can only be mitigated through public education campaigns and innovative data protection solutions
On the eve of World Backup Day, Acronis predicts that 2018 will be the worst year for cyberattacks and data loss incidents due to the increased sophistication of attacks, growing number of ransomware families, and low awareness of ransomware among users.
According to a new data protection survey commissioned by Acronis, over 60 percent of respondents have never heard of ransomware, an expensive attack that is predicted to cost more than $11 billion in 2019, up from $5 billion last year. In 2017, the number of ransomware variants increased by 46 percent, making prevention and detection more challenging. Security experts expect the cyber threat to keep growing, with ransomware attacking a business every 14 seconds in the next two years, up from 40 seconds this year. That prediction does not include attacks on individuals, which are much more frequent.
Acronis warns that only a high-quality, secure backup solution that integrates proactive protection against ransomware can prevent data loss and protect devices.
“When it comes to a ransomware attack, prevention is the most effective defense,” said Eric O’Neill, former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative. “No business or person is safe. An effective data protection strategy, which includes regularly backing up data and training employees, can go a long way in keeping your data out of the hands of cybercriminals.”
Without understanding what ransomware is and how to prevent an attack, the cost to people and businesses will only increase. Ransomware criminals have perfected their social engineering skills to trick users into downloading the malware, while continuing to take advantage of security flaws that make it difficult for traditional anti-virus software to detect an attack. In fact, the Ponemon Institute reports that 69 percent of organizations don’t believe their anti-virus can stop the threats they’re seeing.
In addition, because cybercriminals recognize how effective backup is at thwarting their attacks, many new strains of ransomware now target backup files and backup software. The Acronis survey revealed that 62 percent of the respondents didn’t know that ransomware can encrypt files and backups. Even more staggering, 33 percent reported that they don’t back up their data. Only secure backup solutions, such as Acronis Backup and Acronis True Image, which include an active, artificial intelligence-based defense against ransomware, are capable of detecting and blocking these sophisticated attacks.
“Ransomware attacks have made headlines over the past year. Yet despite the growing number of attacks, awareness of the problem and the importance of preventing the attacks seem to be slowing down,” said John Zanni, president of Acronis. “Awareness needs to grow in order to help people realize the importance of securely backing up and protecting data. As part of our 15th anniversary, we’re committed to educating people about protecting their data, no matter where it resides.”
“Ransomware is a silent killer of all exposed information worldwide. The recent rounds of ransomware attacks proved that businesses and institutions across the globe underestimated this growing threat. The biggest concern is that those affected are willing to pay ransom rather than proactively protect their systems and devices. However, this growing threat forced companies, like Acronis, to develop innovative technologies and help companies and users all over the world fight ransomware attacks,” said Robert Westervelt, Research Director, Security Products, IDC.