Software as a Service (SaaS) is an innovative software model that tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and others have adopted for benefits like flexibility and cost savings.

What you may not know is that ransomware has also become a service amongst cyber criminals. Thanks to ransomware as a service (RaaS), ransomware operators no longer need to be computer experts – all they need is Bitcoin and nefarious intent.

With the RaaS model, bad actors simply rent the code they need from a ransomware developer for everything they need to hold corporate victims for ransom.

A Difficult and Expensive Choice for Businesses

If you become a victim of a RaaS attack, you face a difficult and potentially very expensive choice. You can pay the ransom, and many businesses choose to do just that. You can try to bargain with the bad actor, hoping they will accept less than the original ransom demand. Or, you could contact local authorities, hoping they can help with the encryption key needed to unlock your ransomed files and bring the bad actor to justice.

On the other hand, you could fight back, relying on the backups you’ve created through managed IT and beat hackers at their own game.

The threat landscape is growing each day, with millions of sets of credentials and terabytes of personal information offered up to the highest bidder. Given the stakes, it is up to every business to educate themselves, and their staff about these growing threats.

Ransomware Payouts and Attacks Are Skyrocketing

Believe it or not, plug-and-play cybercrime is now a thing, and it has been growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the RaaS affiliate programs and the ready-made software ransomware developers have created. Amongst the most infamous bad actors in this space are the groups known as Cryptonite Recoil and Ghostlocker.

It’s no coincidence that growth of RaaS has happened at a time when overall ransomware threats have increased sharply. According to blackfog.com, the first two months of 2022 saw a notable increase in ransomware attacks over the same period just one year ago.

Oh – and did you know average ransomware payout now a whopping $168,000?

If you doubt the importance of a robust cyber defense, the real question is – can you afford to go without it?

Wouldn’t you rather spend a fraction of that ransom by investing in cyber defenses, training employees, and learning how to recognize and avoid growing ransomware threats?

What Types of Businesses Are They Attacking?

Small businesses may not realize they are increasingly being targeted by ransomware attacks, yet that is exactly what is occurring. According to a study of recent trends, RaaS service attacks targeted small businesses more than 70% of the time, far more than the number of attacks aimed at larger firms.

How Much Data is Recovered After the Ransom is Paid?

You might think the decision to pay the ransom would guarantee the safe return of your data, but that is not necessarily the case – the RaaS operator is a criminal, after all.

Even if your company decides to pay the ransom, there is no guarantee you will receive a working decryption key, let alone get all your files back.

A recent study showed that roughly 30% of ransomware victims choose to pay the ransom, and on average those who pay get only 65% of their data back. Those are pretty bad odds, and yet another argument in favor of proactive protection and layered security.

Who is Paying the Ransom?

A new report stated that 30% of insurance payouts for ransomware attacks were made on part of manufacturing businesses, while the largest percentage was paid on behalf of educational institutions – 53% of the total. Governments were also on the receiving end of ransom notes, with payouts amounting to 46% of the total.

This willingness to play along has only driven ransoms higher, and it has caused a growing number of organizations to rely on cyber liability insurance to cover their costs in the event of an attack.

Without a doubt, the acceptance of cyber insurance has risen sharply, with 83% of midsized companies now having coverage in place.

There is value in this type of insurance coverage, as cyber insurance insurers paid out in 98% of verified incidents, and 40% overall covered the actual ransom payment.

Even so, prevention is better than any insurance, and regardless of financial loss, suffering a ransomware attack can have a devastating impact on businesses, organizations, and governmental agencies.

Cyber Insurance Rates are Skyrocketing

With such a high rate of payout, the bad news is that premiums for cyber insurance policies are skyrocketing as ransomware threats continue to grow. Prices for cyber insurance policies have increased roughly 110% in the United States.

How to Guard Against Cyber Attacks

Insurance is a great way for organizations to protect themselves against the growth of ransomware threats and RaaS but prevention methods like these are the best way to avoid becoming the next victim:

  • Install and maintain cyber defenses
  • Review security controls regularly
  • Proactively search for threats to identify ransomware attacks.
  • Consider working with a managed detection and response (MDR) specialist to find and shut down threats in real-time
  • Harden your IT infrastructure by identifying and closing security gaps
  • Prepare for the worst. Know what to do and which steps to take if a cyber incident or ransomware attack takes place.
  • Make backups and test backups to make sure that they are working.

Last but not least, contact Ontech Systems at 262-522-8560 or reach us online to request a cyber security assessment.

Our cyber security and ransomware prevention experts can help you build up your defenses now, so you can avoid a devastating attack later on.

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