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Ransomware risk on the rise

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Cyber incidents as a result of ransomware are rising at an alarming rate according to figures published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The number of reported data breaches following ransomware attacks between January to March this year had increased by 150% compared to the same period in 2020 and had risen by 136% year-on-year for the period April to June.

Kingsley Hayes, head of data breach at Keller Lenkner UK, said: “The threat from cybercriminals is relentless and should not be underestimated. The significant hike in the number of reported attacks could be related to the pandemic and the heightened risk while employees continue working from home. Last year also saw a significant rise in ransomware compared to 2019 however, indicating that organisations are still not doing enough to mitigate the serious risks.

“Looking at the first half of the year, 2020 saw a 59% increase in ransomware attacks with 121 incidents recorded between January and June by the ICO. The Information Commissioner’s Office received 294 reports of ransomware during the same period this year, a rise of 143%.

“Retail and manufacturing, education and childcare, and finance, insurance and credit have consistently appeared in the top three worst affected sectors since January 2020. 

“A ransomware attack can cripple a business. While mid-sized to large organisations are the most attractive, and lucrative, targets for cybercriminals, all organisations should be taking robust preventative steps.

“The world’s largest meat producer JBS had its computer systems hijacked by a ransomware attack in June 2021. A hefty ransom of £7.8 million was paid to regain access to its systems.

“4 New Square Chambers was also recently targeted by cybercriminals. No organisation or sector is immune to these vicious attempts to extort substantial sums. There is also no evidence that after ransom is paid that any confidential data obtained during an attack is not sold on or used for further fraudulent activity.

“The message is clear on cybersecurity – act now or pay later.”

The data breach and cybercrime specialist team at Keller Lenkner UK is currently representing thousands of individuals against Equiniti, Equifax, TeamSport, Dixons Carphone and the Police Federation of England and Wales amongst others.

The firm recently secured a £230k settlement for a client following a significant cryptocurrency theft as a result of inadequate cybersecurity at GateHub.

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