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Retail Industry was the Second Most Targeted Industry by Ransomware in 2021, Sophos Survey Finds

Ransomware

77% of Retail Organizations were Hit with Ransomware, up from 44% in 2020—a 75% Rise

Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, today published a new sectoral survey report, The State of Ransomware in Retail 2022, which found that retail had the second highest rate of ransomware attacks last year of all sectors surveyed after the media, leisure, and entertainment industry.  Globally, 77% of retail organizations surveyed were hit—a 75% increase from 2020.  This is also 11% more than the cross-sector average attack rate of 66%.

“Retailers continue to suffer one of the highest rates of ransomware attacks of any industry. With more than three in four suffering an attack in 2021, it certainly brings a ransomware incident into the category of when, not if. In Sophos’ experience, the organizations that are successfully defending against these attacks are not just using layered defenses, they are augmenting security with humans trained to monitor for breaches and actively hunting down threats that bypass the perimeter before they can detonate into even bigger problems. This year’s survey shows that only 28% of retail organizations targeted were able to stop their data from being encrypted, suggesting that a large portion of the industry needs to improve their security posture with the right tools and appropriately trained security experts to help manage their efforts,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos

As the percentage of retail organizations attacked by ransomware increased, so did the average ransom payment. In 2021, the average ransom payment was $226,044, a 53% increase when compared to 2020 ($147,811). However, this was less than one-third the cross-sector average ($812K).

“It’s likely that different threat groups are hitting different industries. Some of the low-skill ransomware groups ask for $50,000 to $200,000 in ransom payments, whereas the larger, more sophisticated attackers with increased visibility demand $1 million or more,” said Wisniewski. “With Initial Access Brokers (IABs) and Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), it’s unfortunately easy for bottom-rung cybercriminals to buy network access and a ransomware kit to launch an attack without much effort. Individual retail stores and small chains are more likely to be targeted by these smaller opportunistic attackers,” said Wisniewski.

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