Canada Ranks Poorly in Lost Revenue and Continuity After Ransomware Attacks

Skull and crossbones on binary code with message of infection. Eps10. RGB. Global colorsRansomware is a type of malicious software that is specifically designed to block systems or files until a victim—typically a company or high-ranking professional—has paid a sum of money to regain access. These types of attacks can be costly, sometimes averaging up to $50,000.

According to the recent report, the State of Ransomware, by malware remediation company Malwarebytes, Canadian businesses were among those most likely to pay ransomware demands. Additionally, the report, which examined 5,400 IT staff across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, showed that Canadian businesses ranked among the highest for lost revenue and business interruption following an attack.

In total, around 75 per cent of Canadian businesses admitted that they would pay an attacker to regain access to key systems and functionality. Other interesting findings from the report included the following:

  • Ransomware can impact more than the original infected system or file. In the report, Canada ranked the highest for ransomware penetration, as close to half of attacks affected 26 per cent or more of a company’s extended network.
  • Executives and senior-level staff are typically the targets of ransomware schemes.
  • On average, ransomware attacks in Canada were twice as expensive as those in the United States.
  • Business applications were found to be the most common vulnerability to ransomware in Canada. While email attacks are common in other countries, Canada’s strict anti-spam laws could be contributing to the lower number of email attacks.
  • Despite Canada ranking poorly in terms of business interruption and overall cost as it relates to the impact of ransomware attacks, 51 per cent of surveyed businesses claimed they were confident in their ability to stop an attack.
  • Health care and financial services were found to be the most common industry targets for ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks are a serious concern—one that continues to impact Canadian businesses. In the past year alone, more than one-third of security attacks in Canada were ransomware-related. To protect themselves from this ongoing threat, organizations should consider having a risk assessment done to determine and remediate potentially vulnerabilities.

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4 Things Companies Should Document to Improve IT Security and Disaster Response

IT Security word cloud conceptAn IT manager has the difficult task of overseeing people, processes and technology. And, if there isn’t a departmental emphasis on documenting pertinent information, overseeing a successful IT security program can be a difficult, sometimes impossible, task.

The following are a few items IT professionals should keep a record of in order to maintain efficient IT workflows:

  1. Incident response plans. An incident response plan not only helps companies prepare for potentially crippling IT disasters, but it can also give clients, partners and customers reassurance that an organization is committed to IT security.
  2. Key stakeholders. In the event of an emergency, it can sometimes be difficult to identify who is responsible for what. This can make responding to incidents difficult and confusing. To help ensure a quick response to incidents, identify who would be the decision-makers following a variety of scenarios.
  3. Common risks. Documenting IT information and processes not only ensures business continuity in the event of an incident, but it can help IT professionals prevent threats altogether. Experts recommend that IT departments rank their top five greatest threats and detail possible actions that the department can take if and when a threat emerges.
  4. Third-party providers. More and more IT departments are working with third-party providers, especially as data continues to move to the cloud. In the event of an incident, it is important that a company is equipped with a list of contacts if there is an issue with an off-site system.

As an added bonus to documenting key IT information and processes, other departments will be able to see how data security is handled at a high level. This not only reinforces the importance of IT infrastructure, but it can help promote company-wide buy-in as it relates to ongoing training and future security initiatives.

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