77 Percent of Ransomware Attacks Successfully Bypass Email Filtering

According to the results of a recent Barkly survey of 60 companies that were hit by successful ransomware attacks over the past 12 months, 77 of respondents said the attacks bypassed email filtering solutions.

The survey also found that 95 percent of the attacks bypassed the victims’ firewall(s) and 52 percent bypassed anti-malware solutions.

Notably, one-third of the attacks were successful even though the victim had undergone security awareness training.

Still, following the attacks, most companies doubled down on the security solutions that had failed them in the first place — 26 percent invested in email filtering, 25 percent invested in security awareness training services, 20 percent invested in anti-virus solutions, and 17 percent invested in firewall(s).

Forty-three percent of respondents chose to respond to a successful attack by not investing in any additional solutions.

Some made their own improvements without additional investments — two-thirds of companies responded to the attacks by conducting their own user awareness initiatives, and almost half made updates to their existing security policies.

An earlier Barkly survey found that while 81 percent of IT pros were confident that backup would provide them with complete recovery from a ransomware attack, less than half of those who were actually attacked were able to recover fully with backup.

Code42 vice president and CSO Rick Orloff told eSecurity Planet by email that ransomware is on track to become a billion-dollar business in 2016, and is only expected to grow next year. “While prices on the black market for stolen credit card and electronic healthcare data have been declining, the cost per ransom has continued to climb,” he said.

“It’s not exactly a surprise that hackers have turned to targeting businesses with ransomware,” Orloff added. “Despite its proliferation, ransomware is profitable because many companies don’t have the right security solutions or expertise to combat it.

A recent SANS Institute survey [PDF] of 238 IT security professionals in the financial sector found that ransomware, cited by 55 percent of respondents, has now eclipsed spear phishing (50 percent) as the top cyber attack vector.

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they experienced losses of between $100,001 and $500,000 as a result of such attacks.

“Increasing user awareness, information and intelligence sharing, as well as improving overall risk posture, will be key issues that IT security teams must face sooner rather than later,” SANS analyst and report author G. Mark Hardy said in a statement.

A recent eSecurity Planet article offered advice on how to avoid falling victim to ransomware.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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