Security Breach: 44% of Nigerian firms paid ransom to hackers in 2021-Sophos

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OVER 71 per cent of Nigerian businesses were hit by ransomware attacks in 2021 while 44 per cent of the affected firms paid ransom to retrieve their data back, a report by Sophos, a United Kingdom (UK) cybersecurity solutions firm reveals.

The report titled, ‘The State of Ransomware 2022,’ said the number of Nigerian organisations that were hit with ransomware increased from 22 per cent in 2020 to 71 per cent in 2021.

The report read in part, “The main findings of the State of Ransomware 2022 global survey from the Nigerian respondents, which covers ransomware incidents experienced during 2021, as well as related cyber insurance issues, include:

“More victims are paying the ransom — In 2021, 44 per cent of organisations that had data encrypted in a ransomware attack paid the ransom

“The impact of a ransomware attack can be immense — The average cost to recover from the most recent ransomware attack in 2021 was $3.43m. It took on average one month to recover from the damage and disruption. 97 per cent of organisations said the attack had impacted their ability to operate, and 96 per cent of the victims said they had lost business and/or revenue because of the attack.

“Many organisations rely on cyber insurance to help them recover from a ransomware attack – 81 per cent of mid-sized organizations had cyber insurance that covers them in the event of a ransomware attack – and, in 97 per cent of incidents, the insurer paid some or all the costs incurred.

“91 per cent of those with cyber insurance said that their experience of getting it has changed over the last 12 months, with higher demands for cybersecurity measures, more complex or expensive policies, and fewer organisations offering insurance protection.”

The report analysed the impact of ransomware on 5,600 mid-sized organisations in 31 countries in Europe, The United States, Asia-Pacific and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The principal research scientist at Sophos, Chester Wisniewski, said, “The survey shows that, globally, the proportion of victims paying the ransom continues to increase, even when they may have other options available.

“There could be several reasons for this, including incomplete backups or the desire to prevent stolen data from appearing on a public leak site. In the aftermath of a ransomware attack, there is often intense pressure to get back up and running as soon as possible.

“Restoring encrypted data using backups can be a difficult and time-consuming process, so it can be tempting to think that paying a ransom for a decryption key is a faster option. It’s also an option fraught with risk.

“Organisations don’t know what the attackers might have done, such as adding backdoors, copying passwords, and more. If organizations don’t thoroughly clean up the recovered data, they’ll end up with all that potentially toxic material in their network and potentially exposed to a repeat attack.”

According to the firm, 62 per cent of the nation’s firms have cyber insurance while 38 per cent have cyber insurance but exceptions/exclusions in the policy.