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Why You Need to Download the 2020 Ransomware Report

Discover why you need to download the 2020 Ransomware Report and how you will be able to leverage these findings to help protect your business against the top cyber threat of the new year. Datto has compiled survey results from over 1000 managed service providers (MSPs) to catalogue the discoveries of the previous year as told directly by the IT professionals and the SMBs they serve. The responses echo predictions made earlier and indicate a similar surge in cyber attacks in 2021 – get the Report and discover what to watch out for and how to better prevent a data breach that could encrypt your critical files.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the 2020 Ransomware Report:

Ransomware Was the # 1 Malware Threat of 2020

Despite (or because of – see below) the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic created around the globe, the growth of malware continued virtually unabated in the past year and eventually surged due to the circumstances. Ransomware rose above all other types as the undisputed number one threat above all others and seems poised to maintain that crown in 2021. The cybercriminal ecosystem – already large enough to have its own economy – has grown around time-tested methodologies such as file encryption, which relies on proven user behaviors to guarantee a beneficial risk to reward scenario.

  • 94% of MSPs surveyed predicted ransomware would continue at the same or increased pace YoY
  • 52% of victims were affected by CryptoLocker and 26% by WannaCry

How the Pandemic and Working from Home Changed Cybersecurity

The 2020 Ransomware Report does reveal some good news for cybersecurity during the pandemic – while attack rates did grow, the increase was not as bad as it could have been. The main dividing line appears to be between those businesses that have or have not enforced clear policies against personal devices used by employees who work from home and connect to the company’s network. What may be most telling is that the industries most often hit are those where data is most critical, and individual users can be leveraged for broad backdoor security access.

  • 59% of respondents attributed ransomware growth to the mass remote work shift
  • 50% said Finance and Insurance are the most targeted sectors

Phishing Emails Still Top Ransomware Vector

Asked to select their top three answers, a majority of MSPs surveyed clearly identified phishing as the top culprit for allowing ransomware to infect their clients’ networks. Unsurprisingly, examples of bad employee cybersecurity practices were also included in these results, as these factors and the chosen vector go hand in hand in many cases. Many gangs employ social engineering specifically to identify and learn how to exploit the best victim that presents the right amount of gateway access and susceptibility to answering urgent emails.

  • 54% of those surveyed blamed phishing emails for successful ransomware delivery
  • 26% and 27% attributed infection to bad user practice and lack of cybersecurity training, respectively

The Cost of a Data Breach and Downtime

The majority of survey respondents in the 2020 Ransomware Report made it clear that clients that experienced infection saw serious impacts to productivity, and quite a few experienced much more severe consequences over time. Data and devices had to be discarded, profits were lost, and many had to shut down their entire systems. Downtime costs rose exponentially as well this past year, increasing the damage done by a successful data breach.

  • 62% of MSPs said victims saw a serious loss of productivity while 39% experienced downtime
  • Downtime costs from ransomware increased 94% since 2019

Windows Systems Are Top Targets of Ransomware

Given the popularity of Microsoft products across the world, it should be no surprise that Windows PCs made up the vast majority of infected machines among the respondents. Additionally, many servers were also impacted by ransomware as well as deployments of Office 365. Cybercriminals will use their malware to infect as many systems as possible once they have successfully breached a network, and legacy endpoints – as well as improperly configured cloud connections – can provide them with backdoor access opportunities to spread it outward from one victim.

  • 91% of those surveyed said Windows PCs were targeted
  • 76% said Windows Servers were infected and 64% said the same for Microsoft 365

Gangs Are Refining Methods to Bypass Security Controls

The Report revealed that MSPs saw noticeable signs that ransomware gangs were modifying their malware to bypass traditional IT security controls. This reflected a trend of increasing of sophistication among both the perpetrators and their attack vehicles, including more refined social engineering tactics.

  • 59% of respondents said antimalware solutions were averted by ransomware breaches
  • 42% said legacy antivirus software was bypassed by infections

SMBs with Business Continuity Averted Downtime

Perhaps the best news out of the 2020 Ransomware Report was that SMBs with business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions in place managed to avoid serious downtime. The majority were able to restore their systems with some form of data backup, while only a fraction paid the attackers a ransom. Other effective measures were also highlighted by the respondents, including employee cybersecurity training and patch management.

  • 91% of MSPs said that clients with BCDR solutions avoided significant downtime

Download the 2020 Ransomware Report

These are only a portion of the takeaways from the Report – the past year has provided a wealth of data to review and quantify to gauge the threat that ransomware poses in 2021. Download the full survey results and leverage these findings to begin refining your security strategies for fighting malware.

Download the 2020 Ransomware Report here and reach out to SWK Technologies ASAP for help in building your cybersecurity strategy.

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