1 in 3 SMEs has already been a victim of a ransomware attack in France

The number of ransomware attacks, or ransomware, has exploded since the beginning of the year. Between the maintenance of telecommuting – and, by extension, greater exposure to cybersecurity breaches – and the conflict in Ukraine (cyber warfare), companies are more than ever the target of these malicious acts. If large companies have significant means to prevent it, SMEs, in turn, are weakened in the face of the threat, due to lack of knowledge or budget. What is your understanding of risk? How do they deal with this digital blackmail? So many questions explored in the latest GetApp survey.

In France, SMEs are particularly vulnerable to the danger of ransomware attacks. This common cybercrime attack technique involves sending the victim malware that encrypts all their data and demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption password. 51% of French SMEs say such an attack would have serious repercussions. Trend confirmed by 79% of IT employees who believe that such an act would be critical to the integrity of the organization.

1. Pay hackers or not? That is the question.

SMEs are aware that paying a ransom carries risks. 40% think it does not guarantee data recovery, 20% think it would make companies more vulnerable to future attacks, 17% suspect hackers still intend to make data public. However, 56% of SME respondents certify that they have never paid a ransom. Of those who would have done so, 33% said they had disbursed between €10,001 and €20,000, 28% would have paid between €20,001 and €40,000 and higher amounts between €40,001 and €80,000 would have been spent by 14% of SMEs . For 5% of companies, the amounts exceeded €80,000. Sabrina Khoulalene, Content Analyst at GetApp, comments: “SMBs have understood that it is not the ransom amount that matters, but the very practice of the ransom request that is questionable. Therefore, it is necessary to have a good IT team and an effective plan to prevent this type of digital attack.”

2. What defense strategies for French SMEs?

To protect themselves against cybersecurity breaches, the companies involved already have preventive tools: antivirus software (84%), software updates (62%), antimalware software (61%) or even antivirus software, spam (57.5% ). Training and awareness campaigns: 75% of companies surveyed train their employees to recognize and report potential ransomware attacks, with 40% training them once or twice and 35% regularly. Note, however, that 26% of companies have never done so. In the event of an attack, 83% of companies believe that their employees know who to report the incident to.

Data backup: 98% of companies surveyed claim to have a data backup to recover in case of a ransomware attack. 39% have online data backup, 31% have offline data backup, and 28% have both. Business continuity plan: 71% of companies surveyed say they have one, while 29% are unsure or unsure. Identifying an attack: 73% of the companies surveyed are convinced that, in the event of an attack, they will be able to detect the incident on the same day. 47% of them believe they would realize it in a few hours and 27% almost in real time. On the other hand, 22% admit that they would probably only know about it in the following days or even months. Ransomware attacks don’t just happen during the week and can be run on weekends. Would French SMEs be prepared in this scenario? 59% of the panel answer yes when 42% admit not being or at least not sure.

3. What are the repercussions after a ransomware attack?

A ransomware attack weakens a company considerably, and that, in addition to the one-time ransom value: Financial damage after a ransomware attack: for 26% of French SMEs, a ransomware would have cost their business between €10,001 and €20,000, 23 % of them would have suffered damages between €50,001 and €100,000, 21% would have to spend between €20,001 and €50,000. These amounts include ransom amount, business downtime, unprofitable labor hours, device cost, network cost, or missed opportunities. The other impacts generated after an attack: for 57% of French companies, it is the loss of time and productivity that has the greatest impact on the company, while 50% regret the loss of their data and 46% the financial loss. Then comes the loss of customers (22%), linked to reputational damage (22%) The implementation of new protection tools: 43% of the companies surveyed admit to having installed antivirus software after the attacks suffered, anti-malware software (39 %), VPN (36%) or even anti-spam software (35%).

Regular installs and updates: Companies say they regularly update their software following ransomware (38%), their operating systems (34%), while others report improving endpoint security. 24% of them say they later took out cyber insurance to better protect their business.

Despite the growing and ubiquitous threat of increasingly sophisticated ransomware, organizations still have several ways to avoid it. As a starting point, regular cybersecurity training for employees, as well as backups on different media for all data. Many protection tools are also available in the market, for all budgets and all sizes of companies. Finally, taking out cyber insurance will save you various costs in the event of an attack.

*Methodology: To collect this data, GetApp interviewed a total of 200 respondents in March 2022. Respondents should be over 18 years old and work in the IT department of a company with 2 to 250 employees and know the definition of ransomware. GetApp’s team of content analysts and marketers perform data analysis using a precise cleaning process (quality control) and filter question method.

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