Yet for 17% of those, paying the ransom did not guarantee the return of stolen data. However, as public awareness of potential cyberthreats grows there is reason for optimism in the fight against ransomware.
Ransomware is a type of malware which criminals use to extort money. It holds data to ransom using encryption or by locking users out of their device.
The percentage of victims that paid the ransom to restore access to their data last year was highest among those aged 35-44; with two-thirds (65%) admitting to paying. This compares to just over half (52%) of those aged 16-24 and only 11% of those over the age of 55, showing that younger users are more likely to pay a ransom than those over 55.
Cases of paying a ransom among users who experienced ransomware infection, by age breakdown
Whether they paid or not, only 29% of victims were able to restore all their encrypted or blocked files following an attack. Half (50%) lost at least some files, 32% lost a significant amount, and 18% lost a small number of files. Meanwhile, 13% who did experience such an incident lost almost all their data.
“This data shows we have seen a significant proportion of consumers paying a ransom for their data over the past 12 months. But handing over money doesn’t guarantee the return of data, and only encourages cybercriminals to continue the practice. Therefore, we always recommend that those affected by ransomware do not pay as that money supports this scheme to thrive,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky. “Instead consumers should make sure to invest in initial protection and security for their devices and regularly back up all data. This will make the attack itself less appealing or lucrative to cybercriminals, reducing the use of the practice, and presenting a safer future for web users.”
At present, around four-in-10 (39%) of those surveyed claimed they were aware of ransomware over the past 12 months. It’s important that this number rises as remote working becomes more prolific. To better help consumers protect themselves as they learn more about this form of cyberattack, it is vital that they understand what to look out for, and what to do if they encounter ransomware.
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Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 250,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.