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96% of Indian organisations hit by ransomware worked with law enforcement, Sophos Finds

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Sophos, released additional findings from its annual “State of Ransomware 2024” survey. According to the report, among organisations surveyed, 96% of Indian companies that were hit by ransomware over the past year engaged with law enforcement and/or official government bodies for help with the attack.

In addition, more than half (59%) of the organisations that did engage with law enforcement also reported finding the process easy. Only 7% of those surveyed said the process was very difficult.

Based on the survey, impacted organisations reached out to law enforcement and/or official government bodies for a range of assistance with ransomware attacks. Seventy-one percent reported they had received advice on dealing with ransomware, while 70% received help investigating the attack. More than two thirds (71%) of those that had their data encrypted received help from law enforcement to recover their data from the ransomware attack – the highest level of support in recovering encrypted data across all countries surveyed.

“The high rate of Indian organisations seeking law enforcement aid for ransomware attacks signals a positive shift in the country’s cybersecurity landscape. As data breaches can severely impact businesses, CERT-IN’s guidelines mandating the reporting of such incidents are a much-needed step. The upcoming DPDP Act, set to come into effect in July, will further strengthen these efforts. by encouraging transparency and facilitating collaboration between private and public sectors in combating cybercrime.” said Sunil Sharma, vice president of Sales, Sophos India and SAARC. “This openness to involve authorities, coupled with implementing robust security hygiene, can fortify India’s cyber defenses and cultivate an environment of cybersecurity awareness and accountability.”

“Companies have traditionally shied away from engaging with law enforcement for fear of their attack becoming public. If they are known to have been victimised it could impact their business reputation and make a bad situation worse. Victim shaming has long been a consequence of an attack, but we’ve made progress on that front, both within the security community and at the government level. New regulations on cyber incident reporting, for example, appear to have normalised engaging with law enforcement, and this survey data shows organisations are taking steps in the right direction,” added Chester Wisniewski, director, Field CTO, Sophos. “If the public and the private sectors can continue to galvanise as a group effort to help businesses, we can continue to improve our ability to recover quickly and gather intelligence to protect others or even potentially hold those conducting these attacks responsible.”

Recent in-the-field findings from Sophos X-Ops’ Active Adversary report highlighted the continued threat of ransomware to small-and-medium sized businesses. Data from more than 150 incident response (IR) cases in 2023 found that ransomware was, for the fourth year running, the most frequently encountered attack type, occurring in 70% of IR cases Sophos X-Ops investigated.

“While improving cooperation and working with law enforcement after an attack are all good developments, we need to move from simply treating the symptoms of ransomware to preventing those attacks in the first place. Our most recent Active Adversary report showed that many organisations are still failing to implement key security measures that can demonstrably reduce their overall risk profile; this includes patching their devices in a timely manner and enabling multi-factor authentication. From the law enforcement side, while they have had some recent successes with takedowns and arrests from LockBit to Qakbot, these successes have proven to be more akin to temporary disruptions than longer term or permanent wins.”

“Criminals are successful in part due to the scale and efficiency with which they operate. To beat them back, we need to match them in both these areas. That means that, going forward, we need even greater collaboration, both within the private and public sector—and we need it at a global level,” said Wisniewski.

“Today’s threat environment is constantly evolving—and it’s more severe and more complex than ever before. The bad guys aren’t constrained by international borders, so we shouldn’t be, either.

“At the Bureau, we’ve been doubling down in particular on our work with the private sector, in their capacity as victims of cyberattacks, of course, because the mission of the FBI always has been—and always will be—victim-centric—but also as integral partners, who can share valuable information about threats and trends, and, increasingly, join in our operations themselves,“ said Christopher Wray, FBI director.

The State of Ransomware in India 2024 report findings are derived from an independent survey of 5,000 IT decision makers across 14 countries, including 500 respondents in India. Conducted in January and February 2024, respondents were asked to answer based on their experiences in the previous 12 months. Organisations surveyed had between 100 and 5,000 employees, and revenue ranged from less than $10 million to more than $5 billion.

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