Ransomware Virus Attacks Still Common in Australia and Half Pay Up
The illegal cyber-crime business of Ransomware is gaining a footing in most countries around the globe. There is an alarmingly high number of Australian companies are falling victims to these sophisticated online cyber hackers. As the cyber-crime attacks increase, so does the loss of revenues for the target companies as they experience system downtime and have to pay a hefty ransom amount normally in the infamous Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Recent Australian Consumer Ransomware Survey Results
A recent survey this year from Telstra paints a damning picture of most of the Australian business entities. The survey which had over ICT professionals portrayed how dire the situation is becoming. A whopping 48% of the over 300 companies in the study confirmed suffering a cyber-attack in the preceding twelve months. This raised the figures by at least 33% from the previous year, 2018. Surprisingly, out of 33%, over 80% had to deal with a Ransomware demand. But the good news is only half of them paid. This means some companies are getting more aware of the need to secure their data and not funding the next wave of cybercriminal activities.
According to security agents, the paying of ransom money encourages more crime. The companies should seek the formal channel of reporting the cases for investigation. Such a channel is ACSC the Australian Cyber Security Centre found at https://www.cyber.gov.au. Additionally, the agents argue that there is little evidence that your data will be intact when you retrieve it, I would say there is an 80% chance of retrieval once the ransom is paid – in some cases, they can demand that you pay again or a higher amount. If you can do without the data the money would be better spent to continue investing in your internet security to deter further attacks and put an offline backup in place. The companies should also have better offline backup systems in case they have to deal with a Ransomware attack. An offline backup is one that backs up for a few hours each day and is then shut down or disconnected from the network to prevent it from getting infected from any outside sources.
Unfortunately, the reality on the ground does not resonate with expert advice. The Telstra survey reveals that most Australians would rather pay for their data back. Out of the interviewees, 77% of the companies admitted to paying for the decryption key and actually getting their data back. The figure went up slightly to 79% for those who do not have a secure backup and find themselves in the situation. While the cybercrime business is lucrative, the top experts are optimistic that it will gradually slow and fade away.
The New Trend
On the contrary, they are warning of a more sophisticated wave. They fear that hackers are changing tact and targeting credit cards at pay points and points of sale. The experts argue that the new wave offers hackers a more lucrative source of income. Instead of contacting the victims, the burden sits on the retailers to explain the loss. Despite the threat, most business outlets are confident of their cyber-security systems. Unfortunately, the survey exposed that at least close to 90% of business cyber-attacks went through unnoticed in a year.
In comparison to their global counterparts, Australian companies rank well in their cybersecurity detection systems. About two-thirds of the respondents confirmed that they noticed a lapse within hours, with only half in other countries. Small fines and weak legislation is the primary cause of insecure security systems in Australia. Only 53% of the business offenders received fines in Australia as compared to 63% in the EU since 2017.
The Telstra survey revealed that 26% of the average Australian businesses do not invest in any sort of planning for this type of attack.
Written by The Original PC Doctor on 8/12/2019.