Technology for MSMEs: India is among the top countries hit by ransomware attacks with more than half targeted at the country’s small businesses, revealed a report by the cybersecurity company, NordLocker.
Small businesses with an employee base of 500 are at the highest risk of ransomware attacks, accounting for around 54 percent of total attacks from January 2020 to July 2022.
The report found out that the top five sectors prone to cyber attacks are: Information Technology (IT) sector (at 23.40 per cent) followed by manufacturing (10.90 per cent), consumer services (9.4 per cent), finance (9.4 per cent ), and energy (6.3 per cent) respectively.
“Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that forces a company’s operations to a halt by taking possession of its most crucial and sensitive files and demanding a ransom from the company to get the data back. This type of attack is extremely effective. In the past few years, cases have grown exponentially, while cybersecurity awareness has failed to catch up,” said Tomas Smalakys, NordLocker’s Chief Technology Officer.
The study analyzed numerous databases of ransomware incidents that affected over 5,000 companies worldwide. It found out that 17 per cent of ransomware attacks in India targeted businesses with a turnover of Rs 80 billion and more. However, most often ransomware attacks targets Indian companies with annual revenue between Rs 8 to 40 billion (41.5 per cent).
As a matter of fact, the companies that got affected with malware together have a combined annual revenue of Rs 330.9 trillion. Some of the most active ransomware gangs in India are LockBit and Ragnar Locker, responsible for 13% and 7.80% of attacks, respectively.
The study tells that business size is another major indicator of how likely a business is to be targeted by a ransomware attack.
“Small businesses are top targets for ransomware gangs because, for them, cybersecurity is often an afterthought. Smaller companies justifiably prioritize growing their operation, leaving cybersecurity on the sidelines. This, combined with the usually thin profit margins small businesses endure, makes them not only easy to hack but very likely to pay up as well, because they do not have the funds to sustain a prolonged halt to operations,” highlighted Tomas Smalakys.
Companies with an employee count between 201-500 are the victims of 22.60 per cent of attacks, and those between 1,001-5,000 employees are victims of 17 per cent of ransomware hack.
The study underlined that companies with more than 10,000 employees fell prey to 11.3 per cent of ransomware attacks as compared to the companies with lesser workforce.
The effectiveness of the attack results from most companies being ill-equipped to deal with it, stated the company. Hackers and criminals may also threaten to post the victim’s data only to demand a higher amount of ransom.
Importantly, 21 per cent of attacks in India target companies that are publicly traded, the report said.