Ransomware attacks double over past two years – report

A rapid increase in ransomware attacks over the past two years has led to a growth in segmentation and the adoption of Zero Trust according to a survey by cloud computer provider Akamai Technologies.

Organisations surveyed experienced an average of 86 ransomware attacks in the past 12 months, up from an average of 43 annual attacks two years ago. Akamai says that security organisations have responded to the recent rise in attacks by implementing Zero Trust and microsegmentation strategies. Nearly all (99%) of respondents who reported that they have deployed some form of segmentation have also deployed a Zero Trust security framework.

The report is based on input from 1,200 IT and security decision-makers from around the world. Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that microsegmentation is an effective tool to keep assets protected, but deployment was lower than expected, with only 30% of organisations segmenting across more than two business critical areas. Globally, the top obstacles to deploying microsegmentation are a lack of skills/expertise (39%) followed by increased performance bottlenecks (39%), and compliance requirements (38%).

Despite slow deployments, organisations that have persevered and implemented a microsegmentation strategy across six mission-critical areas reported recovering from an attack in an average of only four hours. Akamai says that is 11 hours faster than organisations that have only segmented across one critical area, underscoring the effectiveness of a Zero Trust strategy that utilises microsegmentation.

Steve Winterfeld, advisory CISO at Akamai, said: “The cybersecurity landscape is always evolving and shifting based on the latest threat methodologies developed by cybercriminals. Whether it’s defending against ransomware, new zero-days, or sophisticated phishing attacks, it’s vital that organisations reevaluate their risks to protect their critical assets.

“One of the key ways to do this is with a Zero Trust architecture. That means utilizing a combination of Zero Trust network access and microsegmentation integrated as part of a clear security strategy supported by access to staff and partners with necessary skills.”

Other findings from the report include:
• Network downtime (44%), data loss (42%), and brand/reputation damage (39%) were the most common issues impacting organisations after a ransomware attack;
• The US and Germany reported the most ransomware attacks over the past year, with the US at 115 and Germany at 110;
• India leads the way in segmentation, with 58% of organisations reporting more than two assets/areas being segmented, followed by Mexico with 48% and Japan with 32%.

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