“40% of UK ransomware victims have paid to recover their documents” reveals Bitdefender study

By way of its latest market survey, Bitdefender has discovered that 44% of all ransomware victims in the UK have paid to regain access to their data, with the company predicting this number to rise in the years ahead.

No less than 39% of victims found it either probable or very probable that they’ll be attacked again in the future. The study findings also reveal that victims are willing to pay up to £400 to recover their encrypted data.

When questioned on when ransomware attacks are most likely to occur, 76% of respondents said they believe that such cyber episodes could happen at any time.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, explained to Risk UK: “The ransomware phenomenon has been hitting Internet users and generating huge profits for cyber criminals for many years now. While victims are usually inclined to pay the ransom, we encourage them not to engage in such actions as it only serves to financially support the malware’s developers. Instead, coupling a security solution with minimum online vigilance is the better way of preventing any unwanted ransomware infection.”

Access to computer data

67% of respondents had correctly associated ransomware with a virus, while 44% accurately identified ransomware as a type of threat that prevents – or otherwise limits – access to computer data.

Furthermore, almost 34% of respondents identified the Top Three most common ransomware infection vectors as being e-mail messages that contain computer viruses, files that contain a virus and visited websites that are hacked or harbour viruses.

Bitdefender experts predict that ransomware infections will continue to gain traction in 2016, adding other features such as extortion to cyber criminals’ toolkits.

Under the threat of having all of their collected data posted online, victims may be forced to pay a fee within a certain time period in order to keep their information private. While victims may later retrieve the unencrypted files that have been posted online, those files would be easily accessible to the public.

*The Bitdefender study was conducted by iSense Solutions last November and covers the UK, the United States, France, Germany, Denmark and Romania. In total, 1,906 respondents participated in the study

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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