New Veeam research finds 93% of cyberattacks target backup storage to force ransom payment

New Veeam research finds 93% of cyberattacks target backup storage to force ransom payment

Organisations of all sizes are increasingly falling victim to ransomware attacks and inadequately protecting against this rising cyberthreat.

According to new data in the Veeam 2023 Ransomware Trends Report, one in seven organisations will see almost all (>80%) data affected as a result of a ransomware attack – pointing to a significant gap in protection.

Veeam Software, the leader in Data Protection and Ransomware Recovery, found that attackers almost always (93%+) target backups during cyberattacks and are successful in debilitating their victims’ ability to recover in 75% of those events, reinforcing the criticality of immutability and air gapping to ensure backup repositories are protected.

The Veeam 2023 Ransomware Trends Report shares insights from 1,200 impacted organisations and nearly 3,000 cyberattacks, making it one of the largest reports of its kind. The survey examines key takeaways from these incidents, their impact on IT environments and the steps taken, or needed, to implement data protection strategies that ensure business resiliency. This research report encompasses four different roles involved in cyber-preparedness and/or mitigation including, security professionals, CISOs or similar IT executives, IT Operations generalists and backup administrators.

“The report shows that today it’s not about IF your organisation will be the target of a cyberattack, but how often. Although security and prevention remain important, it’s critical that every organisation focuses on how rapidly they can recover by making their organisation more resilient,” said Danny Allan, CTO at Veeam. “We need to focus on effective ransomware preparedness by focusing on the basics, including strong security measures and testing both original data and backups, ensuring survivability of the backup solutions and ensuring alignment across the backup and cyber teams for a unified stance.”

Paying the ransom does not ensure recoverability

For the second year in a row, the majority (80%) of the organisations surveyed paid the ransom to end an attack and recover data – now up 4% compared to the year prior – despite 41% of organisations having a “Do-Not-Pay” policy on ransomware. Still, while 59% paid the ransom and were able to recover data, 21% paid the ransom yet still didn’t get their data back from thecybercriminals. Additionally, only 16% of organisations avoided paying ransom because they were able to recover from backups. Sadly, the global statistic of organisations able to recover data themselves without paying ransom is down from 19% in last year’s survey.

To avoid paying ransom, your backups must survive

Following a ransomware attack, IT leaders have two choices: pay the ransom or restore-from-backup. As far as recovery goes, the research reveals that in almost all (93%) cyber-events, criminals attempt to attack the backup repositories, resulting in 75% losing at least some of their backup repositories during the attack and more than one-third (39%) of backup repositories being completely lost.

By attacking the backup solution, attackers remove the option of recovery and essentially force paying the ransom. While best practices – such as securing backup credentials, automating cyber detection scans of backups and auto verifying that backups are restorable – are beneficial to protect against attacks, the key tactic is to ensure that the backup repositories cannot be deleted or corrupted. To do so, organisations must focus on immutability. The good news is that based on lessons learned from those who had been victims – 82% use immutable clouds, 64% use immutable disks and only 2% of organisations do not have immutability in at least one tier of their backup solution.

Do not re-infect during recovery

When respondents were asked how they ensure that data is ‘clean’ during restoration, 44% of respondents complete some form of isolated-staging to re-scan data from backup repositories prior to reintroduction into the production environment. Unfortunately, that means that the majority (56%) of organisations run the risk of re-infecting the production environment by not having a means to ensure clean data during recovery. This is why it is important to thoroughly scan data during the recovery process.

Mohamad Rizk, Regional Director, Middle East and CIS at Veeam, said: “The Middle East region has one of the most ambitious Digital Transformation and evolution plans in the world, with digital excellence and competitiveness core to that ambition. However, Digital Transformation comes with the risk of increased cyberthreats, especially ransomware attacks. Veeam’s latest Ransomware Trends Report 2023 reveals the reasons why cybersecurity policies cannot be ignored and why they should be implemented across all organisations, regardless of size or industry.

“Any company, independent of its specialization, is a technology company today. Fast recovery from secure, immutable backups is the best line of defence against ransomware attacks. Veeam has the knowledge, expertise and platform to deliver peace of mind and resiliency to our customers. Our technologies and solutions mean they can be confident that their data is always secure and quickly recoverable, while providing the freedom to protect all data, across any workload or environment with zero lock-in.”

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