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Ransomware Payouts Hit Record Highs in 2017

Businesses are now paying an average of $1,400 to rescue their IT systems from ransomware, and global damages from such attacks are expected to surpass $5 billion this year, according to a new report from business cloud services provider Intermedia.

Among the most damaging ransomware attacks to date in 2017, the worst by far was NotPetya, according to a separate report released today by the IT security firm Webroot. The company called this year’s ransomware threats “unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

Europol recently echoed that assessment in its annual threat report, which placed some of the blame on growing connectivity aggravated by poor digital hygiene and security practices. What’s more, Intermedia warned that ransomware attacks are not only growing worse, but are driving a vicious circle in which victim payments are helping to fuel subsequent waves of attacks.

Employers and Employees Alike Are Paying

In its second installment of a three-part report on data vulnerability, Intermedia today found that business efforts to educate employees about the risks of ransomware are falling short. As a result, poor security practices and workplace confusion are driving IT-related ransom payments to record heights.

The threat is especially great for small and medium-size businesses that might not have the security and training resources of larger enterprises, according to Intermedia CTO Jonathan Levine.

“Ransomware can infiltrate and shutdown an entire business through one infected computer,” Levine said in today’s installment of Intermedia’s 2017 Data Vulnerability Report. “More often than not, SMBs feel they are forced to pay a ransom they can’t, but must, afford. And hackers realize this.”

Based on an online survey of more than 1,000 office workers, Intermedia found that the costs of ransomware attacks are falling on both businesses and their employees. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they had personally paid a ransom…

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