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Emotional Toll From Cyberattacks Can Linger Among Staff for Years

Research shows 1 in 7 employees involved in a cyberattack exhibits clinical trauma symptoms months after the incident.

The ransomware crisis hasn't just cost companies time and money, but also the mental health of their employees. New research shows that in the wake of a ransomware or other cyberattack, IT and security staff tasked with responding to a cyberattack can experience intense adverse psychological impacts for years afterward.

Research conducted by organizational psychologist Inge van der Beijl, director of behavior & resilience at Northwave, revealed that 1 out of every 7 employees experiences trauma symptoms months after a cyberattack, including trouble sleeping and back pain. Some 75% reported having "negative ruminative thoughts," and 1 in 5 impacted by a breach has considered a job change, according to the Northwave findings.

"Top management and HRM [human resources management] need to take measures against this, in fact right from the very beginning of the crisis," van der Beijl said in a statement. "They are the ones bearing responsibility for the well-being of their staff. The study reveals that effects can linger throughout the organization."