The Telstra Security Report, authored by Telstra’s director of global security solutions, Neil Campbell, found that three-quarters of Australian businesses surveyed had been targeted by ransomware in 2017 alone.
Of these, almost half (47 per cent) paid the ransom, despite having no guarantee that doing so would unlock their stolen data.
However the vast majority (86 per cent) successfully recovered their data. Such a high success rate meant that some 83 per cent admitted they would pay the ransom again if back-ups of the affected data were unavailable for any reason.
Among the surveyed countries, Australia recorded the highest rate of businesses that would pay a ransom if faced with the situation again, although the rates were fairly similar, with 80 per cent of European firms and 76 per cent of Asian businesses willing to do the same.
“Our research suggests that ransomware that specifically targets businesses tends to be more sophisticated, with attackers having the ability to release files, typically through central command and control systems, once the amount has been paid,” the report noted.
Separately, phishing scams were found to be more prominent in Australia than in other countries investigated, with the number of these threats “steadily rising”.
Some 11 per cent of Australian businesses reported incidents on a weekly basis, and a quarter doing so on a monthly basis.
“Compared to the global results, Australia tends to have greater instances of monthly and quarterly attacks,” said the report.
James Bergl, regional director at Datto, has previously provided a number of key steps that businesses can employ to protect data against attack and the costly ransoms to recoup it.
“Ultimately, ransomware threats will continue. Developing a robust, multi-layered cyber security strategy can save a business,” he said.