A third of survey respondents say they’ve been victims of ransomware or breach

“Accenture / Avanade / Coritel” by Ricardo Ricote Rodríguez is licensed under CC BY 2.0

More than a third of organizations worldwide responding to an International Data Corporation survey said they were victims of ransomware or a breach that blocked access to data in the last 12 months. 

The IDC report released Thursday found that it was not uncommon for victims of ransomware “to have experienced multiple ransomware events.” 

The survey of nearly 800 IT decision makers and influencers in July found that companies based in the U.S. reported lower incident rates at just 7%, compared with a 37% rate for global respondents. Manufacturing and finance industries reported the highest incident rates, while the transportation, communication, utilities and media industries reported the lowest. Only 13% of those who experienced an attack didn’t pay a ransom, with the average payment being almost $250,000. 

The survey’s release coincides this week with at least one high-profile incident when the IT consulting firm Accenture was apparently struck by a hacker group. Using the Lockbit ransomware, the group briefly released nearly 2,400 files to the dark web and reportedly demanded $50 million. The company, however, said it identified irregular activity through security controls and protocols, and isolated the affected servers. 

“We fully restored our affected systems from back up. There was no impact on Accenture’s operations, or on our clients’ systems,” Accenture said in a statement.

In July, a $70 million demand was made in the Kaseya ransomware attack by an affiliate of the REvil group. Kaseya denied it paid a ransom and was able to obtain a decryption key to regain access to encrypted data for its customers. 

"Ransomware has become the enemy of the day; the threat that was first feared on Pennsylvania Avenue and subsequently detested on Wall Street is now the topic of conversation on Main Street," Frank Dickson, program vice president of cybersecurity products at IDC, said in a statement. "As the greed of cybermiscreants has been fed, ransomware has evolved in sophistication, moving laterally, elevating privileges, actively evading detection, exfiltrating data, and leveraging multifaceted extortion. Welcome to digital transformation's dark side."

Stephen Weigand

Stephen Weigand is managing editor and production manager for SC Media. He has worked for news media in Washington, D.C., covering military and defense issues, as well as federal IT. He is based in the Seattle area.

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