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Almost half of SA ransomware victims pony up

Kirsten Doyle
By Kirsten Doyle, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 01 Apr 2021

Just under half (42%) of ransomware victims in SA paid the ransom to restore access to their data last year, according to Kaspersky. However, for 19% of those, coughing up did not see their stolen data being returned.

This was one of the finding of a global report by Kaspersky, dubbed ‘Consumer appetite versus action: The state of data privacy amid growing digital dependency’, that surveyed 15 000 consumers.

The report revealed that, for around a third respondents (36%), the estimated money loss was less than $100. For 31%, it ranged between $100 - $249, and for 19% it varied from $250 to $1999.

Irrespective of whether they paid or not, globally, under a quarter (24%) of victims were able to restore all their encrypted or blocked files following an attack. Another 61% lost at least some files, 32% lost a significant amount, and 29% lost a small number of files. Unfortunately, 11% lost almost all their data.

Marina Titova, head of consumer product marketing at Kaspersky, says the data shows that paying doesn’t guarantee the return of data, and only encourages bad actors to carry out more attacks.

Therefore, Kaspersky always recommend that those affected by ransomware do not pay, as that money only supports further criminal efforts.

“Instead, consumers should invest in initial protection and security for their devices and regularly back up all data. This will make the attack itself less appealing or lucrative to cyber criminals, reducing the use of the practice, and building a safer future for Web users,” she says.

Only about four-in-ten (39%) of those surveyed claimed they were aware of ransomware over the past 12 months. It’s important that this number rises as remote working becomes more prolific. It is critical that consumers understand what to look out for, and what to do if they encounter ransomware, says Kaspersky, recommending the following:

  • Do not pay the ransom if a device has been locked. Paying extortionate ransoms only encourages cybercriminals to continue their practice. Instead, contact your local law enforcement agency and report the attack
  • Try to find out the name of the ransomware Trojan. This information can help cyber security experts decrypt the threat and retain access to your files.
  • Find the latest information on ransomware protection.
  • Avoid clicking links in spam e-mails or on unfamiliar Web sites and do not open e-mail attachments from senders you do not trust.
  • Never insert USBs or other removal storage devices into your computer if you do not know where they came from.
  • Protect your computer from ransomware with a comprehensive security solution. 
  • Backup your devices so your data will remain safe if you do experience a ransomware attack.