Money

Firm paid £40m ransom to hackers, finds survey



One in six firms met the demands of hackers last year by paying out ransoms, according to the the annual Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report.

It revealed 6% of the 5,569 firms polled – and one in six of those attacked – had surrendered by paying a ransom following a cyber attack.

The highest losses for a single firm targeted with ransomware hit $50 million (£40.2 million).

The report also showed that total cyber losses surged 50% to nearly $1.8 billion (£1.4 billion) in 2019.

Cyber losses per firm have risen nearly six-fold, from an average of $10,000 (£8,041) a firm to $57,000 (£45,832).

UK firms are now 15 times more likely to suffer a cyber attack than a fire or theft, the report suggests.

It revealed the biggest reported cyber loss among firms in the eight countries surveyed was suffered by a UK financial services firm, at $87.9 million (£71 million).

The report also found the highest loss from any one cyber event was $15.8 million (£12.7 million), involving a UK professional services firm.

It comes after a recent spate of cyber attacks on British firms, with foreign exchange giant Travelex becoming the victim of a high-profile hack at the turn of the year and reportedly paying out 2.3 million dollars (£1.8 million) in January to the notorious REvil ransomware gang.

The New Year’s Eve attack left its systems down for weeks, forcing the group to resort to pen and paper across its branches.

But while cyber attack losses rose last year, the Hiscox report also showed that firms are upping their defences against hacks, with spending on cyber security rising 39%.

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And the proportion of businesses targeted by cyber criminals fell from 61% to 39%.

The study surveyed companies across the US, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland.



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