Humans are still the weakest link
A recent survey of decision makers from IT, risk, fraud and compliance departments at various UK companies have found that almost 70% of successful ransomware attacks last year were the result of hackers gaining access via phishing emails or social media phishing campaigns.
Public awareness of the threat of ransomware has certainly increased following several high profile ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry and NotPetya, but this latest research from security software company SentinelOne demonstrates that many people are still failing to identify malicious phishing emails. The advice to any victims remains that ransom demands should not be paid, but the research also found that victims actually paid an average of £34,845 to recover their files after an attack. Perhaps more concerning is that 58% of the respondents admitted that even though their organisation had paid the ransom, the perpetrators then tried to extort a second payment and 42% said their files were not decrypted even though they had met the ransom demands.
Although technical detection measures against ransomware are improving, this research shows that people remain the weakest line of defence. To help mitigate against the threat, prevention through education and awareness is one of the simplest and most cost-effective measures. Companies should also maintain regular back-ups of important data (and keep those back-ups on a separate network/offline), and ensure security updates are installed on devices and networks at the earliest opportunity.
How PGI can help your team avoid phishing scams
PGI offer a Phishing Vulnerability Assessment service. This programme will help your team identify malicious e-mails and gauge their vulnerability to compromised links. Talk to us to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 845 600 4403