Businesses in Canada, with 62 attacks, are the third most likely worldwide to have their data held hostage, said new research by NordLocker. Researchers, who analyzed 1,200 companies hit by ransomware gangs in 2020 and 2021, said the U.S. (732 cases), U.K. (74), France (58) and Germany (39) filled out the top five.
As for economic sector, construction companies were most likely to be victimized (93 attacks), followed by manufacturing (86). Finance, healthcare, education, technology and IT, logistics and transportation, automotive, municipal services, and legal round out the top 10.
“The latest statistics indicate that a worrying 37% of companies worldwide became victims of ransomware in 2020,” said Oliver Noble, a cybersecurity expert at encrypted cloud service provider NordLocker.
Noble indicated most ransomware gangs come from post-Soviet states. And, while attackers may appear to prefer larger companies, the research found even small, local businesses like restaurants and dental clinics face attacks.
“To avoid … having business operations put to a standstill, damaged reputation, loss of clients, tiresome legal battles, and huge fines, some organizations are left with no choice but to pay ransom to get the decryption key,” he added.
Problem is not every business can afford that; and paying doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your data back or won’t be attacked again. Noble suggested a few ways to defend your data:
Ensure employees use strong, unique passwords and implement multi-factor authentication.
Train your staff to identify phishing attempts and to not click links in emails from senders they’re unsure about.
Enforce periodic data backup and restoration processes.
Consider a zero-trust network access protocol, which denies entry until a staff member is fully identified.