The general public is becoming increasingly well-educated about cyber-attacks and ransomware in particular – so much so that consumers are becoming unforgiving of businesses that don't take security seriously. And when they look for someone to blame, they often point the finger at the highest ranks in the organization.
Customers are well aware of the security basics that companies must get right to protect not just the business, as well as consumer data, privacy and security. The two most essential safeguards for businesses, they believe, are protection software, according to 79% of respondents, and backup copies of their data, another 62% said.
Veritas Technologies research covering six countries and 12,000 consumers shows that the public often wants restitution from businesses that fall afoul of ransomware, with 65% of respondents wanting compensation and 9% saying the CEO should be sent to prison. Some 44% of respondents would stop buying from a company that falls victim to such a crime.
Customers from China, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US echoed some interesting patterns pertaining to their geography. In China, for instance, people have the highest tendency to change their minds on negotiating with cybercriminals, when it's their own critical information.
“While 80% of respondents believe that businesses shouldn't negotiate in general, when it becomes a personal issue of recovering their own data, that number drops sharply to just 16%,” the report states.
In Britain, customers have strong feelings about standing up to ransomware demands, with 81% believing that businesses should not negotiate with the criminals.
By contrast, the French are forgiving, with just 24% wanting to blame company heads. Just over half also said they believe only criminals can be blamed for ransomware attacks, and just a third considered dropping a company's services after an attack. In the US, the most common attitude for those blaming leaders is to look for fines as punishment (41%).
The study also shows somewhat of a paradox when it comes to paying ransoms. 71% of consumers want companies to stand up to cyber-bullies and refuse to pay ransoms.
“However, when the issue becomes more personal, with a direct threat to their own data, many people change their minds and want the businesses they buy from to negotiate,” the researchers said. “When it comes to their financial data, 55% of respondents want suppliers to pay the ransom to facilitate the return of their records.”