UK ransomware victims most likely to pay up

A new study from anti-malware specialist Malwarebytes reveals that UK users are most likely to pay up if hit by ransomware.

The study of over 1,000 companies across the US, France, UK, Germany, Australia, and Singapore reveals that 56.9 percent of UK businesses surveyed opted not to pay the ransom, and 46.2 percent lost files by not paying. In comparison, 84.1 percent of French businesses surveyed opted not to pay the ransom, and only 24.5 percent lost files.

This could be because the UK is the least confident when it comes to combating ransomware. While the global average of businesses expressing little or no confidence in their ability to address ransomware was 10.7 percent, this varied from a low of 1.7 percent and 2.3 percent in Germany and France respectively, to a high of 19.5 percent in the UK. This may be due to the highly publicized impact of WannaCry infecting the NHS, which is a much larger organization than the businesses surveyed.

The UK’s lack of confidence may be well-placed, as it’s also the worst when it comes to identifying the source of ransomware. Among organizations that don’t know the source of the most severe ransomware infection they had experienced, those in the UK are most likely not to know the source (35.4 percent), compared to the US which scored lowest at 8.6 percent.

Despite this lack of confidence UK companies proved very resilient when faced with a ransomware attack. Only 17.6 percent of UK-based organizations reported that the most severe ransomware infection they experienced stopped business immediately, compared to 34.3 percent of French businesses.

For nearly three in five of the organizations infected with ransomware, the ransom demanded was $1,000 or less. However, for 15 percent of impacted organizations in the UK, a ransomware infection caused 25 or more hours of downtime, with some reporting that it caused systems to be down for more than 100 hours.

“Businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk for ransomware attacks,” says Marcin Kleczynski, Malwarebytes CEO. “However, the stakes of a single attack for a small business are far different from the stakes of a single attack for an enterprise. Our findings demonstrate that SMBs are suffering in the wake of attacks to the point where they must shut down operations. To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in preventing attacks; despite significant investments in defensive technologies. As a security community, it’s important that we thoroughly understand the battles that these companies are facing, so we can better protect them.”

You can find out more in the Second Annual State of Ransomware report available from the Malwarebytes site.

Image Credit: EnginKorkmaz /

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