Retailers are finding it hard to deal with ransomware attacks, a new report by cybersecurity firm Sophos has revealed.
After surveying 3,000 IT/cybersecurity leaders in organizations with between 100 and 5,000 employees (including 355 from the retail sector), across 14 countries in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific Sophos found that only 26% of retail organizations this past year were able to disrupt a ransomware attack.
This is a three-year low for the sector—a decline from 34% in 2021 and 28% in 2022—suggesting the sector is increasingly unable to halt ransomware attacks already in progress.
“Retailers are losing ground in the battle against ransomware. Ransomware criminals have been encrypting increasingly greater percentages of their retail victims in the last three years, as evidenced by the steadily declining rate of retailers stopping cybercriminal attacks in progress. Retailers must up their defensive game by setting up security that detects and responds to intrusions earlier in the attack chain,” said Chester Wisniewski, director, global field CTO, Sophos.
In addition, the report found that, for those retail organizations that paid the ransom, their median recovery costs [not including the ransom payment] were four times the recovery costs of those that used backups to recover their data [$3,000,000 versus $750,000].
“Forty-three percent of retail victims paid the ransom according to our survey respondents, yet the median recovery cost to victims who paid the ransom was four times the cost to those who used backups and other recovery methods. There are no shortcuts in these situations and rebuilding systems is almost always required. It’s better to deprive the criminals of their spoils and build back better,” said Wisniewski.
Additionally, the report notes that the retail sector experienced its highest rate of encryption over the past three years, with 71% of those organizations targeted by ransomware stating that attackers successfully encrypted their data. The percentage of retail organizations attacked by ransomware declined from 77% last year to 69% this year while the percentage of retail organizations that recovered in less than a day decreased from 15% to 9% this year. The percentage of retail organizations that took more than a month to recover increased from 17% to 21%.