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One cryptomalware attack can cost SMBs up to US$99,000

Adrian M. Reodique | Sept. 16, 2016
Despite no guarantee that data will be returned, 34 percent of the respondents admitted paying the ransom.

A single cryptomalware attack can cost small and medium businesses (SMBs) up to US$99,000 on average, according to the Corporate IT Security Risks 2016 report by Kaspersky Lab.

Cryptomalware is a type of ransomware which encrypts the user's file on a computer and demands ransom for decryption. The report polled more than 3,000 representatives from SMBs on how they respond to cryptomalware.

Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) considered cryptomalware as one of the most serious threats their organisations could face.

The report said the total damage of a cryptomalware attack is a combination of various factors like partial or complete suspension of operations, loss of important data, and or reputational risks. In fact, 67 percent of the SMB representatives reported complete or partial loss of corporate data because of cryptomalware.

Cryptomalware can be distributed in two ways. First is through drive-by downloads on compromised websites; and second is through download and opening an infected e-mail attachments, which imitate ordinary mails like tax notice, and information about purchases.

On average, attackers demand US$300 from the victims to decrypt the files. Despite no guarantee that data will be returned, 34 percent of the respondents admitted paying the ransom.

"As we can see, almost one-third of SMBs still believe that paying the ransom is the most cost-effective way of getting their data back. The reality, however, is that the total damage for companies ends up being much greater and there is still no guarantee of recovering the corporate data in question," said Vladimir Zapolyansky, Head of SMB Marketing at Kaspersky Lab, in a press release.

The report indicated that one out of five companies failed to get back the data after paying the ransom. It also just adds to the total amount of damage caused by cryptomalware attack.

"As criminals increase their efforts to make money by using cryptomalware, small and medium businesses should take preventative measures to minimise the risk of becoming yet another victim. In order to improve the efficiency of their protection against cyberthreats, we advise SMBs to use dedicated solutions and the advanced technologies," Zapolyansky advised. 

The report also underscored several tactics that can help SMBs prevent or deal with cryptomalware:

1.       It was found that one in five cases of data loss happened because of "carelessness" or "unawareness" of the employees. In line, the threat can be addressed with basic IT security staff training to help them determine suspicious e-mails and unknown links, as well as enable an anti-spam setting to avoid these incidents.

2.       Develop a process to create and safely store backup files.

3.       Control and restrict access to corporate data.

4.       Regularly update software on all devices to the latest version. 


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