Ransomware attacks on financial services increased by 62% in the global financial services sector during a period of 12 months.
The State of Ransomware in Financial Services 2022 survey report by cyber security software and hardware company Sophos found that of the participating organizations, 64% reported an increase in attack complexity and 55% reported an increase in the impact of attacks.
The annual study is based on the annual study of IT professionals, of which 444 respondents came from the financial services sector, working in mid-sized companies across 31 countries.
The survey demonstrated that cyber criminals have become considerably more capable of executing attacks at scale, however, the sector reported the lowest rate across all sectors surveyed despite the jump in the financial services ransomware attack rate.
The surge in ransomware attacks is part of an increasingly challenging broader threat environment that has affected organizations across all sectors.
Over the last year, cyber attacks have increased in volume, complexity and impact, which in turn increases the challenge for IT teams.
Financial services experienced an above-average increase in the complexity of attacks, in response to this sector’s strong ability to stop attacks, adversaries are forced to increase the sophistication of their approaches.
The report stated that the organizations have to get better at dealing with the aftermath of an attack as 99% of the financial services organizations hit by ransomware and had data encrypted in the last year got some encrypted data back by backup to restore data.
Some 52% of respondents in financial services reported that they paid the ransom to restore data — which is higher than the global average of 46% — likely reflecting the lower rate of backup use while 24% used other means to restore encrypted data.
The report added that the average amount of data recovered after paying the ransom dropped over the last year to 61% compared to 65% in 2020 as the financial services respondents who paid the ransom recovered 63% of their data on average in 2021.
This is slightly above the global average of 61% and the amount of data restored by financial services has remained constant at 63% across 2020 and 2021.
Encouragingly, there has been a considerable increase over the last year in the percentage of financial services organizations that gain back their encrypted data back, up from 4% in 2020 to 10% in 2021. For comparison, the global average in 2021 was just 4%.
This suggests that financial services have an above-average ability to restore encrypted data once the cyber criminals provide the decryption key.
That being said, it’s important to note that nine in 10 financial services organizations that paid the ransom did not get all their data back. This clearly demonstrates that paying the ransom will only restore a part of the encrypted data and the affected cannot count on the ransom payment to get all their data back.