Over half of ransomware victims pay off criminals: Survey

Over half of ransomware victims pay off criminals: Survey
Ransomware is a specific type of malware where criminals lock, encrypt or steal data from a user and refuse to return or release it until a fee is paid. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 April 2021

Over half of ransomware victims pay off criminals: Survey

Over half of ransomware victims pay off criminals: Survey
  • Despite more than half of victims paying out, only 17 percent were able to retrieve their data while 72 percent lost some of the files stolen from them

DUBAI: More than half of ransomware victims chose to pay out to criminals last year, but only 15 percent received their lost data, according to a new global survey by security company Kaspersky.

Ransomware is a specific type of malware where criminals lock, encrypt or steal data from a user and refuse to return or release it until a fee is paid.

From a survey of 15,000 global customers, Kaspersky found that 52 percent of ransomware victims had paid fees to criminals.

The survey found that 28 percent of victims paid less than $100, 15 percent between $100 and $249, 43 percent between $250 to $1999 and 3 percent between $2,000 and $4,999.

Despite more than half of victims paying out, only 17 percent were able to retrieve their data while 72 percent lost some of the files stolen from them.

“This data shows we have seen a significant proportion of consumers paying a ransom for their data over the past 12 months. But handing over money doesn’t guarantee the return of data, and only encourages cybercriminals to continue the practice,” Marina Titova, head of consumer product marketing at Kaspersky, said in a statement.

“Therefore, we always recommend that those affected by ransomware do not pay, as that money supports this scheme to thrive.

“Instead consumers should make sure to invest in initial protection and security for their devices and regularly back up all data.”

Kaspersky reported last month that Saudi Arabia experienced about 7 million cyberattacks in the first two months of 2021.

The company said that the Kingdom saw more than 22.5 million brute-force attacks in 2020 on remote desktop protocols, the most popular way to access Windows clients or servers.

Brute-force attacks are trial-and-error attempts to guess login information, encryption keys or find hidden web pages.

The number of attacks increased significantly in March, with an 104 percent increase to 2 million, compared with February’s 983,512.