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Public sector ‘better able to avoid ransomware pay-outs’

06/01/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Organisations in the public sector are better able to avoid the need to pay up during ransomware attacks, according to a global survey.

Encrypted files image

Data protection specialist Veritas Technologies has released results of a survey showing that 86% of public authorities affected by an attack were able to avoid paying a ransom to the hackers, compared with 43% of private sector companies.

The responses came from 128 public sector respondents worldwide, among over 3,000 in all sectors.

The company has drawn a line between the trend and the complexity of cloud services taken on by organisations, saying that those in the public sector averaged 6.43 while the overall average is 11.73. It said this provides a more simple infrastructure in which it is easier to restore data quickly and effectively.

In support of this, it said public sector bodies have been able to recover over 90% of their data after a successful ransomware attack compared with 69% across all sectors.

Surge in attacks

Andy Warren, UK and Ireland director, public sector, at Veritas, said: “Over the last six months, we have seen the public sector targeted heavily by ransomware attacks. The education sector in particular has seen a large rise in the number of ransomware attacks, according to the National Cyber Security Centre. Our own research suggests 46% of businesses in the public sector have been hit by a ransomware attack at some point in their history, with nearly one in 10 organisations (9%) facing three to five attacks.

“Despite the pressure it has come under, it’s clear that the public sector is leading the way in terms of ransomware resilience. Being able to restore data quickly and effectively is a key part of this.”

The research also showed that public sector organisations were most likely to have increased their IT security budgets, with 73% noting a rise compared with an average of 46%.

Image from NCSC, Open Government Licence v3.0

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