SMBs targeted

A new report has found that small and medium businesses in Australia and New Zealand have the highest rate internationally of ransomware attacks

IT provider Datto Inc announced the findings from its fourth annual Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report in which it warns that SMBs in Australia and New Zealand are becoming a “prime” target.

And ransomware, a type of malicious software which makes business data inaccessible until a ransom is paid, remains the most common cyber threat to SMBs.

The report identified a number of ransomware trends specifically impacting the SMB sector:

  • Ransomware attacks are pervasive. The number of ransomware attacks against SMBs is on the rise. 85% of managed service providers reported attacks against SMBs over the last two years, compared to 79% of MSPs who reported the same in 2018. In the first half of 2019 alone, 56% of MSPs reported attacks against SMB clients. In Australia and New Zealand, 91% of MSPs report attacks against SMBs in the last two years, the highest rate globally.
  • A disconnect exists on the significance of ransomware as a threat. 89% of MSPs report that SMBs should be very concerned about the threat of ransomware. However, only 28% of MSPs report SMBs are very concerned about the threat.  
  • The cost of ransomware is significant. 64% of MSPs report experiencing a loss of business productivity for their SMB clients while 45% report business-threatening downtime. The average cost of that downtime is US$141,000, a more than 200% increase over last year’s average downtime cost of US$46,800. The report also uncovered that the cost of downtime is now 23 times greater than the average ransom request of US$5,900.

The leading causes of ransomware include phishing emails, lack of cybersecurity training, weak passwords/access management, poor user practices/gullibility and malicious websites/web ads.

“It is no surprise that the frequency and sophistication of ransomware attacks against SMBs in Australia and New Zealand is on the rise, but recording the highest rate globally of reported attacks in this region is a wakeup call for SMBs,” said James Bergl, Regional Director, APAC Datto.

In 2017, following the WannaCry ransomware attack which infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, pharmacy specifically was warned that the sector was a target.

Then Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair William Kelly reminded proprietor pharmacists at the time that they must ensure that confidential patient information is appropriately stored and accessed.

Pharmacists have an obligation to maintain patient records securely, especially when considering solutions for back-up storage of such information, he said.

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