Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

10/31/2017
08:00 AM
50%
50%

Majority of Employees Hit with Ransomware Personally Make Payment

Office workers pay an average ransom of $1,400, according to a new report.

A whopping 59% of employees who have sustained a ransomware attack at work personally paid the extortion money, according to a report released today by Intermedia.

The 2017 Data Vulnerability Report Part 2, a survey of 1,000 office workers at small-to midsized businesses, also found 68% of business owners and executives personally paid ransom payments. The average ransom paid was approximately $1,400, the study notes.

Potential Payment Drivers

"I think employees pay it because it's fast," speculates Jonathan Levine, Intermedia's CTO. "While everyone is trying to figure out the company's policy on paying ransom, the people still need to get the work done."

He believes most employees do not back up their work, and adds it's not surprising a majority of the workers personally paid the ransom.

But Chris Hornick, president-elect of the Northern California Human Resources Association and CEO of HBSC Strategic Services, has a different view on why employees are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars of their own money.

If an employer learns that company equipment is used for non-work related activities, it could be a fireable offense, Hornick says.

For example, if an employee clicks on a bogus email attachment touting details for a free luxurious vacation to the Bahamas and it results in a ransomware attack, the employee may face termination.

"This could be why employees don't want to disclose it and pay the ransom themselves," Hornick says. "It's a double-edged sword because usually employees know their employer wants them to disclose ransomware attacks."

Workforce Ransomware Education

The survey also reports that 70% of respondents say their employer regularly communicates about cyberthreats, and that 69% are familiar with ransomware. However, given that the majority of office workers still pay the ransom themselves, Levine says it suggests companies have not yet taken the extra step to inform employees what to do if they are attacked by ransomware.

"A lot of the security education is around how not to get hit, versus what to do once you get hit," Levine says, adding, "People are bad when it comes to planning for low-probability events, even catastrophic ones."

Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents note their employers paid the ransom. The Intermedia report advises companies to inform workers about the possible dangers of dealing with ransomware attackers directly.

The report also advises creating an environment where employees realize there is no shame in becoming a ransomware victim, and that personally paying ransom should never be an option.

Related Content:

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Former CISA Director Chris Krebs Discusses Risk Management & Threat Intel
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/23/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
Security + Fraud Protection: Your One-Two Punch Against Cyberattacks
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  2/23/2021
News
Cybercrime Groups More Prolific, Focus on Healthcare in 2020
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/22/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Building the SOC of the Future
Building the SOC of the Future
Digital transformation, cloud-focused attacks, and a worldwide pandemic. The past year has changed the way business works and the way security teams operate. There is no going back.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-27670
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
Appspace 6.2.4 allows SSRF via the api/v1/core/proxy/jsonprequest url parameter.
CVE-2021-27671
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
An issue was discovered in the comrak crate before 0.9.1 for Rust. XSS can occur because the protection mechanism for data: and javascript: URIs is case-sensitive, allowing (for example) Data: to be used in an attack.
CVE-2020-9051
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-9052
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-9053
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-24
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: The CNA or individual who requested this candidate did not associate it with any vulnerability during 2020. Notes: none.