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Study: Businesses Held for 'Ransom' Paying the High Cost

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Study: Businesses Held for 'Ransom' Paying the High Cost

March 17, 2016
By Rory J. Thompson
Web Editor

Along with all the other fears businesses have today – outages, disgruntled employees, competition, government regulations – the biggest one that no one is talking about might well have the highest cost: Ransomware.

That’s the finding from Intermedia (News - Alert), a one-stop shop for cloud business applications, in new research titled “Intermedia’s 2016 Crypto-Ransomware Report.” The study finds that ransomware is targeting bigger businesses and spreading within corporate networks, and also spotlights a widespread lack of business continuity planning to deal with it.

Ransomware is basically malware that restricts access to an infected computer system in some way. The infiltrators then demand that the affected user pay a ransom to the malware initiators to remove the restrictions, or be permanently locked out of their critical files. For some companies, this can be a death blow.

“Intermedia’s report offers advice on ransomware prevention, containment and business continuity planning,” the company noted in a statement. The full report can be accessed at

The report highlighted a number of findings that should give any savvy CTO pause. They are:

  • Downtime is More Detrimental than Ransom Costs: “A ransomware outbreak creates two hard choices for businesses,” Intermedia said. “Either spend multiple days recovering locked files from backups, or pay ransom to an organized crime syndicate.” Neither choice is one a company would like to make.
  • Ransomware is Targeting Bigger Businesses: “Ransomware should no longer be seen solely as a threat to individuals and small businesses,” the study found. “Nearly 60 percent of businesses hit by ransomware had more than 100 employees, and 25 percent were enterprises with more than 1,000 employees.”
  • Ransomware is a Growth Industry: The threat of ransomware is rapidly growing. According to Intermedia’s report, 43 percent of IT consultants have had their customers fall victim to ransomware. Forty-eight percent saw an increase in ransomware-related support inquiries, and 59 percent of respondents expect the number of attacks to increase this year.

One survey respondent noted the high costs involved.

“Ransomware attacks are on the rise, and are growing in complexity,” said Walter Chamblee, Director of IT at “Without the right protection measures in place, ransomware can be majorly disruptive to a business. In these cases, it’s the user downtime and the hassle for IT that’s far costlier, even if you pay the ransom.”

Go to at to download a copy of the complete report.

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