Fortinet unveiled the 2021 Global State of Ransomware Report. The survey reveals most organizations are more concerned about ransomware than other cyberthreats. However, while the majority of organizations surveyed indicated they are prepared for a ransomware attack, including employee cyber training, risk assessment plans, and cybersecurity insurance, there was a clear gap in what many respondents viewed as essential technology solutions for protection and the technology that can best guard against the most commonly reported methods to gain entry to their networks.
Based on the technologies viewed as essential, organizations were most concerned about remote workers and devices, with Secure Web Gateway, VPN and Network Access Control among the top choices. While ZTNA is an emerging technology, it should be considered a replacement for traditional VPN technology. However, most concerning was the low importance of segmentation (31%), a critical technology solution that prevents intruders from moving laterally across the network to access critical data and IP. Likewise, UEBA and sandboxing play a critical role in identifying intrusions and new malware strains, yet both were lower on the list. Another surprise was secure email gateway at 33%, given phishing was reported as a common entry method of attackers.
Organizations More Concerned About Losing Data
The top concern of organizations regarding a ransomware attack was the risk of losing data, with the loss of productivity and the interruption of operations following closely behind. In addition, 84% of organizations reported having an incident response plan, and cybersecurity insurance was a part of 57% of those plans. In regards to paying ransom if attacked, the procedure for 49% was to pay the ransom outright, and for another 25%, it depends on how expensive the ransom is. Of the one-quarter who paid ransom, most, but not all, got their data back.
Ransomware Concerns Consistent Globally
While concerns about ransomware were reasonably consistent across the board, there were some differences regionally. Respondents in EMEA (95%), Latin America (98%), and APJ (Asia-Pacific/Japan) (98%) were only slightly more concerned about ransomware attacks than their peers in North America (92%). All regions perceive the loss of data as the top risk associated with a ransomware attack, along with the worry that they will be unable to keep up with an increasingly sophisticated threat landscape. APJ, uniquely, lists the lack of user awareness and training as their top concern. Respondents in APJ and Latin America were more likely to have been victims of a ransomware attack in the past (78%) compared to 59% in North America and 58% in EMEA. Phishing lures were a common attack vector everywhere, while remote desktop protocol (RDP) exploits and open vulnerable ports were top attack vectors in APJ and LatAm.
The Need for Integration and Intelligence
Almost all respondents view actionable threat intelligence with integrated security solutions or a platform as critical to preventing ransomware attacks and see value in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven behavioral detection capabilities.
While almost all of those surveyed felt they are moderately prepared and plan to invest in employee cyber awareness training, it is clear from the survey that organizations need to recognize the value of investing in technologies like advanced email security, segmentation, and sandboxing, in addition to the mainstays of NGFW, SWG, and EDR, to detect, prevent, and limit ransomware. It is important that organizations consider and evaluate these solutions to reduce risk given today’s ransomware tactics and techniques. The most advanced organizations will adopt a security approach for their ransomware protection strategy that is platform-based and provides core capabilities fully integrated with actionable threat intelligence. They must also be designed to interoperate as a unified system and be enhanced with AI and machine learning to better detect and respond to ransomware threats.
About the Fortinet Ransomware Survey:
- The report is based on a global survey of IT decision-makers aimed at better understanding how organizations view the threat of ransomware, how they are currently protecting against it, and how they plan to protect against it going forward.
- The survey was conducted in August 2021 with 455 business leaders from small as well as mid to large-sized organizations worldwide. Survey participants are IT and security leaders from 24 different countries, and represent nearly all industries, including the public sector.