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Fortinet reveals two-thirds of organizations hit by ransomware

Two-thirds of organizations have been the target of at least one ransomware attack, according to “The 2021 Ransomware Survey Report” by cybersecurity firm Fortinet. This, in spite of the claims by respondents that they are prepared for any security breach.

The report is based on a global survey of 455 IT decision-makers representing nearly all industries (including the public sector) conducted in August 2021 in 24 countries. The objective of the survey is to better understand 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 revealed that 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.

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Majority (84%) of the respondents said they have an incident response plan with 57% having cybersecurity insurance as part of the plan. In regards to paying the 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 the ransom, most, but not all, got their data back.

Essential technology

“According to a recent FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape report, ransomware grew 1,070% year over year, said John Maddison, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet. “Unsurprisingly, organizations cited the evolving threat landscape as one of the top challenges in preventing ransomware attacks.”

Globally, countries all believe that ransomware should be a top concern but the degree of concern differ in each county. 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%).

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,” Fortinet said. “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.”

Respondents believe that security solutions with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven behavioral detection will further enforce their threat intelligence capabilities.

“As evidenced by our ransomware survey, there is a huge opportunity for the adoption of technology solutions like segmentation, SD-WAN, ZTNA, as well as SEG and EDR, to help protect against the threat of ransomware and the methods of access most commonly reported by respondents,” Maddison said. “The high amount of attacks demonstrates the urgency for organizations to ensure their security addresses the latest ransomware attack techniques across networks, endpoints, and clouds. The good news is that organizations are recognizing the value of a platform approach to ransomware defense.”