Nearly half of Australian businesses (48 per cent) were targeted by ransomware exploit attempts during 2017, according to new data from Sophos.
The security vendor surveyed more than 2,700 IT decision makers from mid-sized businesses in 10 countries worldwide, including the US, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, UK, Australia (200), Japan, India, and South Africa.
According to the data collected, 67 per cent of Australian organisations that suffered ransomware attacks believed they were running up-to-date endpoint security during their last attack.
Meanwhile, Malwarebytes’ State of Malware Report found that malware detections doubled during 2017 in Australia and New Zealand, compared to 2016.
Researchers from the malware detection and prevention company analysed security threat telemetry from more than a million customers globally from January 2016 to November 2017.
Malwarebytes’ report found that ransomware attacks showed a 1000 per cent increase in Asia Pacific in 2017 when compared to 2016. However, the last quarter of 2017 saw fewer ransomware detections in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
It is important to keep in mind that a lack of detection does not mean there were fewer attacks, but that a lesser quantity was detected.
Malwarebytes also found a 15 per cent increase in adware detection in Australia and New Zealand compared to 2016.
“It’s clear that cyber criminals are becoming more strategic as they pick the most effective form of attack,” Malwarebytes Asia Pacific area vice president and managing director, Jeff Hurmuses, said.
“While Asia Pacific hasn’t been a major target in the past, the data we are seeing leads us to believe that ransomware, worms, and spyware attacks will become a major threat in the region," Hurmuses added.
According to Sophos, ransomware costs businesses, on average A$822,251 per attack.
Attacks on a global scale
More than 50 per cent of organisations surveyed were targeted by ransomware exploit attempts in 2017, on average being struck twice, according to data from Sophos.
Of the 10 countries surveyed, India took the top spot for most ransomware attacks (67 per cent).
Australia came eighth on the list, with 48 per cent, and Japan was last on the list with 41 per cent.
According to Sophos, the median total cost of a ransomware attack was US$133,000, including ransom, downtime, manpower, device cost, network cost, and lost opportunities. Five per cent reported US$1.3 million to US$6.6 million as total cost.
Meanwhile, the Malwarebytes research found that ransomware against consumers increased 93 per cent while ransomware against businesses is up 90 per cent.
September 2017 saw the largest volume of ransomware attacks against businesses ever documented.
Hijackers, adware and riskware tools were consecutively the top three detections against businesses. Hijackers rose close to 40 per cent in 2017, according to Malwarebytes.
The second half of the year marked an average of 102 per cent increase in banking Trojan detection.