/EIN News/ — LONDON, Oct. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — US companies are the most affected by ransomware, with almost half (46%) of all ransomware attacks happening there, followed by Canada, the UK, France, and Germany, new research by cybersecurity company NordLocker reveals. The new study analyzed numerous databases of ransomware incidents that affected over 5,000 companies worldwide. With a collective revenue of 4.15T USD, the companies under investigation produce more value than Germany’s entire GDP.
The research was conducted with the purpose of discovering which companies are at the highest risk of being targeted by ransomware. Apart from the geographic variable, researchers looked at factors such as which ransomware groups are the most active, the most affected industries, company revenue, and employee count.
“Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that forces a company’s operations to a halt by taking possession of its most crucial and sensitive files and demanding a ransom from the company to get the data back. This type of attack is extremely effective. In the past few years, cases have grown exponentially, while cybersecurity awareness has failed to catch up,” says Tomas Smalakys, NordLocker’s CTO.
Manufacturing is the top industry to be hit by ransomware
NordLocker’s research found that out of 18 industries identified, the manufacturing industry (10.2% of all attacks) is most likely to be hit by ransomware worldwide. Closely followed by the construction (9.6%), transportation (8.3%), healthcare (7.8%), and tech/IT (7.6%) industries.
“Ransomware gangs usually decide who their next target is based on two criteria. The first one is how likely the targeted company is to pay up, which is weighed by looking at variables such as the company’s importance in supply chains, the quantity of confidential information that it handles, and other factors that, in the case of an attack, put pressure on the company to get operations back up and running. The second criteria is more straightforward and primarily deals with the depth of the company’s pockets and how lacking in cyber defenses their business is,” says NordLocker’s Tomas Smalakys. “When you look at the data through this lens, you see why certain industries are more affected than others.”
Small businesses beware
Business size is another major indicator of how likely a business is to be targeted by a ransomware attack. Small-sized businesses (up to 200 employees) are at the highest risk of being attacked by ransomware worldwide, being the targets for more than half of all attacks (58.8%). Companies with an employee count of between 201-500 are the victims of 16.1% of attacks, while those with between 501-1000 employees are victims of 8.9% of ransomware hacks, and those with 1000+ deal with 16.2% of attacks.
“Small businesses are top targets for ransomware gangs because, for them, cybersecurity is often an afterthought. Smaller companies justifiably prioritize growing their operation, leaving cybersecurity on the sidelines. This, combined with the usually thin profit margins small businesses endure, makes them not only easy to hack but very likely to pay up as well because they do not have the funds to sustain a prolonged halt to operations,” says Tomas Smalakys.
What else did the research find?
● Among the affected organizations are some of the most influential institutions worldwide, including several Fortune 500 companies and one of the top educational institutions in the US.
● LockBit group is the most active ransomware gang worldwide, responsible for 16.4% of attacks. LockBit is closely followed by Conti (15.3%), Pysa (6%), REvil (5.4%), and Maze (5.1%).
● 5.6% of ransomware attacks targeted public sector institutions
● even though less than 1% of companies worldwide are publicly traded, they make up 16.6% of targeted companies.
● The state of Michigan is the most affected by ransomware. Missouri — the least.
● Companies with annual revenue between 10-25M USD are targeted by ransomware the most (18.1%). Interestingly, companies with more than 1B USD in annual revenue are the targets behind 10.1% of attacks.
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Methodology: Data was collected from publicly available blogs where ransomware gangs post the names of their victims and their demands. The ransomware attacks under investigation all happened during the period between 01/01/2020 to 01/07/2022. Financial and industry information was collected from publicly available databases.
The full report can be found here: https://nordlocker.com/ransomware-attack-statistics/