Sophos: Ransomware Hit Two-Thirds of Surveyed Organizations
Sophos, a UK-based cybersecurity vendor, has released a new market research report detailing that 66% of surveyed organizations were hit with ransomware in 2021, up from 37% in 2020. The average ransom paid by organizations increased nearly fivefold to $812,360, with a threefold increase in the proportion of organizations paying ransoms of $1 million or more. Forty-six percent of the organizations that had data encrypted paid the ransom to get their data back, even if they had other means of data recovery, such as backups.
The State of Ransomware 2022 report summarizes the impact of ransomware on 5,600 mid-sized organizations in 31 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with 965 sharing details of ransomware payments.
“Alongside the escalating payments, the survey shows that the proportion of victims paying up also continues to increase, even when they may have other options available,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos. “There could be several reasons for this, including incomplete backups or the desire to prevent stolen data from appearing on a public leak site. In the aftermath of a ransomware attack there is often intense pressure to get back up and running as soon as possible. Restoring encrypted data using backups can be a difficult and time-consuming process, so it can be tempting to think that paying a ransom for a decryption key is a faster option. It’s also an option fraught with risk. Organizations don’t know what the attackers might have done, such as adding backdoors, copying passwords and more. If organizations don’t thoroughly clean up the recovered data, they’ll end up with all that potentially toxic material in their network and potentially exposed to a repeat attack.”
In 2021, 11% of organizations said they paid ransoms of $1 million or more, up from 4% in 2020, while the percentage of organizations paying less than $10,000 dropped to 21% from 34% in 2020.
In 2021, 46% of organizations that had data encrypted in a ransomware attack paid the ransom. Twenty-six percent of organizations that were able to restore encrypted data using backups in 2021 also paid the ransom.
The average cost to recover from ransomware attacks in 2021 was $1.4 million. It took on average one month to recover from the damage and disruption. Ninety percent of organizations said the attack had impacted their ability to operate, and 86% of private sector victims said they had lost business and/or revenue because of the attack.
More than 80% of mid-sized organizations had cyber insurance that covers them in the event of a ransomware attack – and, in 98% of incidents, the insurer paid some or all the costs incurred (with 40% overall covering the ransom payment).
The findings underscore the need for channel partners to help clients defend against such threats. It also suggests that consultation on cyber insurance can be an important value-add, moving forward.
CompTIA: Tech Employment Remains on Solid Footing
Employers throughout the U.S. economy remain in hiring mode for tech talent, according to an analysis of the latest labor market data by CompTIA, a suburban Chicago-based IT industry association. Tech job postings surpassed 443,000 in May and total 1.6 million year-to-date, an increase of 40% over the same period last year, according to the most recent CompTIA Tech Jobs Report.
CompTIA’s analysis, which is based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, also shows that technology companies added 20,700 workers in April and 75,200 through the first four months of 2022.
“Despite the growing chatter around economic headwinds, it was another solid month of tech employment gains and hiring activity momentum,” said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA.
Hiring for the month occurred in all major tech industry categories: tech manufacturing, telecommunications, data and cloud infrastructure services and IT services and software. Year-to-date, tech industry employment is tracking 28% ahead of the same period of the previous year.
Positions for software developers and engineers accounted for nearly 30% of all employer tech job postings in April. Demand was also strong for IT project managers, IT support specialists, systems engineers and architects and network engineers and architects. Three in 10 postings were for positions in emerging technologies or jobs requiring emerging tech skills.
Tech job postings surpassed 15,000 in five metro areas across the country – New York City, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago. But hiring activity extended beyond the largest markets. Oklahoma City ranked seventh nationally in the largest month over month increase in tech jobs postings.
The one soft spot in the report was the decline of 215,000 tech positions as measured at the occupation level – that is, positions across all sectors of the U.S. economy. With the typically higher levels of volatility with monthly occupation level data, it is too soon to interpret this as a monthly blip or something more.
The findings represent a source of good news for the industry as we head into the middle of the year.
Qualys Launches Enhanced Partner Program
Qualys, Inc., a Foster City, California-based provider of cloud-based IT, security and compliance solutions, has announced the launch of an enhanced channel and integration partner program.
The program has been designed to foster close collaboration and enable partners to realize significant value when leveraging the power of the Qualys Cloud Platform.
“Partners are strategic to our overall growth strategy, and our enhanced program will reward their commitment and protect investments while also furthering Qualys’ investment in programs and people,” said Suzanne Swanson, senior vice president of Global Partners, Qualys. “Qualys is empowering partners by making our renowned Cloud Platform and more than 20 IT, security and compliance apps available to them, accompanied by the best possible support, tools and resources to help expand joint business.”
Aiming at a broad cross-section of the channel, including security focused MSSPs, MSPs, VARs, distribution partners and vendors, the program changes are designed to enrich structured benefit and protection programs for partners who identify new opportunities, provide technical certifications and opportunities, and grant access to the Qualys Cloud Platform which provides visibility into the threat landscape.
The changes reflect a shift in the cybersecurity landscape towards a wider variety of participating partners.