Last year, one in six businesses met ransom demands of cybercriminals, according to the most recent Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report.
In their analysis, Hiscox polled 5,569 respondents across Europe and the USA, noting that more than 6% of respondents paid a ransom, filling the pockets of attackers with over $380 million.
“The most dramatic figures concern malware and ransomware infections,” the report said. “350 firms reported paying a ransom following a malware or ransomware attack (16% of all firms attacked).”
While the percentage of businesses facing cyber incidents dropped from 61% to 39%, the report shows that cyber losses surged from $1.2 billion in 2018 to $1.8 billion.
The UK financial industry suffered the most, with the highest reported annual cyber loss, of $87.9 million, attributed to a financial services company. The highest loss from a single cyber incident was also seen in the UK, costing one professional services company over $15 million.
More than 51% of companies with over 1,000 employees said they suffered at least one cyber incident. Belgian and German firms appear to be the top targets of cyber events, with median figures for incidents of 100 and 80, respectively. Financial services, manufacturing and technology, media and telecoms were the most heavily targeted sector, with 44% of businesses reporting at least one cyber event or breach.
“Some 63% of businesses with fewer than ten employees said they had suffered no cyber incidents or breaches,” the survey noted. “But almost half (49%) had no defined role for cyber security – suggesting they could well have blind spots.”
However, 11% of respondents claimed that they did not know how many times they had been targeted by cybercriminals, and 15% of the ‘don’t knows’ were large enterprise companies with over 1,000 employees.
Additional highlights of the report mention that 15% of targeted companies claim they had “reevaluated the cyber security of their supply chain (up from 8% the previous year) or been subjected to increased evaluation by their own customers (15% compared with 10%)”.
Company reputation was also harmed by bad publicity. 14% of respondents said that their brand name was affected, and 13% experienced a reduction in business performance.