Sunday, July 21, 2024

Envisioning cyber resilience beyond ransom payments

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In a world with ever-evolving cyber threats and increasingly stringent cyber resilience requirements, new market insights point to a clear difficulty in recovering operations despite making ransom payments after a breach.

The stark revelation comes from Veeam Software Group GmbH, whose recent Ransomware Trends report covered more than 1,200 organizations and 3,600 unique incidents.

“To me, this is endemic to the problem facing our industry right now,” said Jason Buffington, vice president of market strategy at Veeam. “One of the questions that was asked in the survey was basically, ‘Did you pay and did it work?’ So there are four outcomes that come back. Four out of five organizations actually paid the ransom. But if you think about it, 27 out of 81 paid and still couldn’t recover. In one out of three cases they paid but couldn’t recover — that’s our statement of the problem.”

Buffington spoke with Christophe Bertrand of theCUBE Research during an AnalystANGLE segment on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the findings of the Veeam survey and the sobering picture it paints about the current state of cyber resilience.

Cyber ​​resilience: The broader impact of cyberattacks on businesses

As highlighted in the Ransomware Trends report, 81% of respondents admitted to paying ransoms, but only 51% recovered their data. Surprisingly, however, the survey also reported that the size of unrecoverable data was 43%. So while some organizations regain some normality after ransom payments, recovery was mostly incomplete. This points directly to the ineffectiveness of simply paying the ransom.

Only 15% of respondents were able to recover from a major ransomware attack without paying. This grim picture illustrates the serious gaps in current cyber resilience practices, Buffington said.

“That’s our goal; the goal should be to have the other 85% of victims say, ‘No, we’re not going to pay, we’re going to restore,’” he said. “That’s really the current picture: more people, almost twice as many, who were paid but couldn’t restore than those who restored without paying.”

Contrary to popular belief, the financial ramifications of cyberattacks extend far beyond the ransom itself. The report shows that an overwhelming 89% of organizations cited that their biggest financial impact was not the ransom payment itself. In fact, ransom payments typically account for only 32% of the total business impact of a cyberattack, according to Buffington. So if the ransom were $320,000, the total cost to the company would be around $1 million.

“One of the new things in this year’s research is that we asked organizations how much the ransom was and then how much was the total bill,” Buffington said. “So how much was the overall business impact? There’s so much beyond the ransom itself. “That number … turns out that on average, when it was all over, the ransom only accounted for 32% of the overall business impact.”

A major challenge to achieving effective cyber resilience is the attack on backup repositories. According to the survey, 96% of cyberattacks targeted backup systems and 76% of these attacks managed to compromise them.

“It’s like… you throw me off the side of a boat in the middle of the ocean, what’s the first thing you want to do to make sure I pay the ransom and buy you your life preserver? “You climb up the ladder and make sure there’s nothing floating around me,” Buffington said. “Remove the ability to save me so you can pay for your life preserver.”

Here is the full interview with Jason Buffington:

Image: Rafa Jódar / Getty Images

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