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    Paying the Ransom Doubles Cost of Recovering from a Ransomware Attack, According to Sophos

    Published on May 19, 2020

    MUMBAI, India : Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, has announced the findings of its global survey, The State of Ransomware 2020, which reveals that paying cybercriminals to restore data encrypted during a ransomware attack is not an easy and inexpensive path to recovery. In fact, the total cost of recovery almost doubles when organizations pay a ransom. The survey polled 5,000 IT decision makers in organizations in 26 countries across six continents, including Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

    More than 80% of Indian organizations had experienced a significant ransomware attack in the previous 12 months, compared to 67% in 2017. Data was encrypted in 91% of attacks that successfully breached an organization in India. The average cost of addressing the impact of such an attack in India, including business downtime, lost orders, operational costs, and more, was ₹80,270,000. Two out of three (66%) organizations hit by ransomware in India admitted paying the ransom.

    “Organizations may feel intense pressure to pay the ransom to avoid damaging downtime. On the face of it, paying the ransom appears to be an effective way of getting data restored, but this is illusory. Sophos’ findings show that paying the ransom makes little difference to the recovery burden in terms of time and cost. This could be because it is unlikely that a single magical decryption key is all that’s needed to recover. Often, the attackers may share several keys and using them to restore data may be a complex and time-consuming affair,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos.

    Nearly 30% of the IT managers surveyed in India were able to recover their data from backups without paying the ransom.. Every organization in India that paid the ransom got their data back, although this was not always the case elsewhere. Globally, nearly 5% of public sector organizations paid the ransom but didn’t get their data back. In fact, 13% of the public sector organizations surveyed never managed to restore their encrypted data, compared to 6% overall.

    However, contrary to popular belief, the public sector was least affected by ransomware globally, with just 45% of the organizations surveyed in this category saying they were hit by a significant attack in the previous year. At a global level, media, leisure and entertainment businesses in the private sector were most affected by ransomware, with 60% of respondents reporting attacks.