2 in 3 Oz firms yield to ransomware crooks’ demands

Image by Michael Geiger

Almost two thirds (64%)  of Australian IT and security leaders said they are likely to pay a ransom to recover their data following a cyberattack, according to a new study released by Rubrik.

Rubrik Zero Labs commissioned its second global data security study with Wakefield Research to gather insights from 1,625 CIOs and CISOs who are based in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and India on February 10-21.

While more than 60% of Australian respondents said they were likely to pay a ransom in the future, almost three quarters (72%) reported having previously paid to recover data or to stop a ransomware attack.

Scott Magill, managing director, Rubrik A/NZ said Australian organisations, like their global counterparts, were seeing attackers turn their attention to backup data in order to hamstring cyber recovery efforts.

Magill said that organisations are struggling to keep their heads above water against the rising tide of cyberattacks and 98% of respondents had seen malicious actors attempt to impact their data backups during a cyberattack. Alarmingly, 87% said the attackers were at least partially successful in these attempts.

The figures were well above the global average, where 90% had seen attackers attempt to impact backup data and 73% reported the attempts had some level of success. 

“When backup data is corrupted or encrypted, victims often see no alternative other than to pay the ransom,” Magill said. “Unfortunately, there is no honour amongst thieves and decryption keys rarely provide what it says on the tin.”

This was evident in the research which found only 14% of Australian organisations that paid attackers for decryption tools were able to recover all their data.

The report shows that Australian businesses have seen a steady stream of attacks levelled against them with respondents reporting an average of 46 attempted cyberattacks in the past year. 

As a result, 82% of local security leaders are concerned their company will be unable to maintain business continuity as a result of cyberattacks.

Magill said that in a bid to turn the tables Australian businesses are looking to bolster their troops, whether through artificial intelligence or hiring security personnel. 

While 52% reported increased interest in supporting security teams with AI and 49% sought to hire additional staff, 38% said a lack of specialised IT talent impacted these efforts.  

Despite the concerns surrounding business continuity and the increasing prevalence of cyberattacks, only 53% of Australian organisations developed or reviewed an incident response plan in 2022 and only 58% had tested their backup and recovery options. 

“It’s clear organisations understand the gravity and impact of cyber incidents, but we also see a range of roadblocks from a lack of preparation, misalignment between IT and security teams, and over-reliance on insufficient backup and recovery solutions,” said Steven Stone, head of Rubrik Zero Labs.