A recent survey found that C-Suite executives say that they “won’t pay ransomware”… and then when they get hacked….something changes and money flows.
Timing is everything.
How many businesses will pay a ransom if attacked? It might depend on if they have already been a victim of ransomware. Some 84 percent of U.S. and U.K. information technology executives at firms that had not faced ransom attacks said they would never pay a ransom. Very noble indeed!
However, among firms that had been attacked, 43 percent paid, according to Radware’s 2016 Executive Application & Network Security Survey of more than 200 IT executives across the U.S. and U.K. The study found that U.S. companies were far more willing to admit that they would pay a ransom.
Among U.S. firms who had not been attacked, 23 percent indicated they were prepared to pay a ransom, in contrast to the 9 percent in the U.K. Companies that paid ransoms reported an average of $7,500 in the U.S. and £22,000 in the U.K.
So in other words, it is quite easy to say you would never pay when the sun is shining, the sky is blue and your systems are available. When however the clouds part and the rain begins and your system is actually locked down and inaccessible, the response changes…rapidly and markedly.
The survey reported other interesting tidbits:
- Former hackers are seen as reliable watchdogs: Senior executives see former bad guys as the best way to test their systems. Some 59 percent of respondents said they either had hired ex-hackers to help with security or were willing to do so.
- Firms see telecommuting as security risk: Work-from-home arrangements are seen as an increasing risk. The survey found a big jump in changes to telecommuting policies, with 41 percent of respondents saying they have tightened work-from-home security policies in the last two years.
- Wearables require more than a dress code: While about one in three companies implemented security policies around wearables in the last two years, 41 percent said they still have no rules in place, leaving a growing number of end points potentially vulnerable. Perhaps this is because wearables aren’t seen as a major target—only 18 percent pointed to wearables when asked what hackers would most likely go after in the next three to five years.
- New connected devices will be the next security frontier: While wearables were less of a concern, many executives surveyed think the Internet of Things (IoT) could become a bona fide security problem. Some 29 percent said IoT devices were extremely likely to be top avenues for attacks, similar to the percentage of nods received for network infrastructure, which received 31 percent.
- Cleaning up after a cyberattack can be expensive: More than a third of respondents in the U.S. said an attack had cost them more than $1 million, and 5 percent said they spent more than $10 million. Costs in the U.K. were generally lower, with 63 percent saying an attack had cost less than £351,245 or about $500,000, though 6 percent claimed costs above £7 million.
- Security risk is business risk: Whether motivated by ransomware or another factor, attacks impose significant reputational and operational costs on victims. When executives named the top two risks they face from cyberattacks, brand reputation loss led the pack, with 34 percent of respondents choosing that as a big fear. Operational loss (31 percent), revenue loss (30 percent), productivity loss (24 percent), and share price value (18 percent) were also included in the top concerns.