Manufacturing sector leads in highest average ransomware payments – report
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Manufacturing sector leads in highest average ransomware payments – report

Manufacturing sector leads in highest average ransomware payments – report

Of the organisations surveyed that paid the ransom, the average cost was $2,036,189 – more than double the cross-sector average of $812,360


Sophos, a cybersecurity company, has published a new sectoral survey report, “The State of Ransomware in Manufacturing and Production,” which found that the sector had the highest average ransom payment across all sectors – $2,036,189 versus $812,360, respectively.

In addition, 66 per cent of manufacturing and production organisations surveyed reported an increase in the complexity of cyberattacks, and 61 per cent reported an increase in the volume of cyberattacks when compared to the previous year’s survey. The increase in complexity and volume is also 7 per cent and 4 per cent higher than the cross-sector average, respectively.

“Manufacturing is an attractive sector to target for cybercriminals due to the privileged position it occupies in the supply chain. Outdated infrastructure and lack of visibility into the OT environment provides attackers with an easy way in and a launching pad for attacks inside a breached network. The convergence of IT and OT is increasing the attack surface and exacerbating an already complex threat environment,” said John Shier, senior security advisor, Sophos.

“While having reliable backups is an important part of recovery, today’s ransomware threat requires a detailed response plan that includes human-led threat hunting capabilities. Complex attacks require comprehensive protection, which, for many organisations, will include the addition of managed detection and response (MDR) teams who are trained to look for and neutralize active attackers.”

While manufacturing and production had the highest average ransom payment, the percentage of organisations that actually paid the ransom was among the lowest across sectors.

Additional findings 
The manufacturing and production sector had the lowest attack rate, tied with financial services, with only 55 per cent of organisations surveyed targetted by ransomware. However, the percentage of manufacturing and production organisations hit by ransomware increased by 52 per cent over the previous year’s report. The sector also had the lowest encryption rate and only 75 per cent of those surveyed reported having cyber insurance—the lowest percentage across all sectors.

In light of the survey findings, Sophos experts recommend the following best practices for all organisations across all sectors:

  • Install and maintain high-quality defences across all points in the environment. Review security controls regularly and make sure they continue to meet the organisation’s needs.
  • Proactively hunt for threats to identify and stop adversaries before they can execute attacks – if the team lacks the time or skills to do this in-house, outsource to a managed detection and response team.
  • Harden the IT environment by searching for and closing key security gaps: unpatched devices, unprotected machines and open RDP ports, for example. Extended detection and response solutions are ideal for this purpose
  • Prepare for the worst and have an updated plan in place of a worst-case incident scenario
  • Make backups and practice restoring them to ensure minimal disruption and recovery time

Read: Solving the people problem: How to put people first in cybersecurity culture

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