SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, March 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of World Backup Day, Acronis predicts that 2018 will be the worst year for cyberattacks and data loss incidents due to the increased sophistication of attacks, growing number of ransomware families, and low awareness of ransomware among users.
According to a new data protection survey commissioned by Acronis, over 60 percent of respondents have never heard of ransomware, an expensive attack that is predicted to cost more than $11 billion in 2019, up from $5 billion last year. In 2017, the number of ransomware variants increased by 46 percent, making prevention and detection more challenging. Security experts expect the cyber threat to keep growing, with ransomware attacking a business every 14 seconds in the next two years, up from 40 seconds this year. That prediction does not include attacks on individuals, which are much more frequent.
Acronis warns that only a high-quality, secure backup solution that integrates proactive protection against ransomware can prevent data loss and protect devices.
"When it comes to a ransomware attack, prevention is the most effective defense," said Eric O'Neill, former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative. "No business or person is safe. An effective data protection strategy, which includes regularly backing up data and training employees, can go a long way in keeping your data out of the hands of cybercriminals."
Without understanding what ransomware is and how to prevent an attack, the cost to people and businesses will only increase. Ransomware criminals have perfected their social engineering skills to trick users into downloading the malware, while continuing to take advantage of security flaws that make it difficult for traditional anti-virus software to detect an attack. In fact, the Ponemon Institute reports that 69 percent of organizations don't believe their anti-virus can stop the threats they're seeing.
In addition, because cybercriminals recognize how effective backup is at thwarting their attacks, many new strains of ransomware now target backup files and backup software. The Acronis survey revealed that 62 percent of the respondents didn't know that ransomware can encrypt files and backups. Even more staggering, 33 percent reported that they don't back up their data. Only secure backup solutions, such as Acronis Backup and Acronis True Image, which include an active, artificial intelligence-based defense against ransomware, are capable of detecting and blocking these sophisticated attacks.
"Ransomware attacks have made headlines over the past year. Yet despite the growing number of attacks, awareness of the problem and the importance of preventing the attacks seem to be slowing down," said John Zanni, president of Acronis. "Awareness needs to grow in order to help people realize the importance of securely backing up and protecting data. As part of our 15th anniversary, we're committed to educating people about protecting their data, no matter where it resides."
"Ransomware is a silent killer of all exposed information worldwide. The recent rounds of ransomware attacks proved that businesses and institutions across the globe underestimated this growing threat. The biggest concern is that those affected are willing to pay ransom rather than proactively protect their systems and devices. However, this growing threat forced companies, like Acronis, to develop innovative technologies and help companies and users all over the world fight ransomware attacks," said Robert Westervelt, Research Director, Security Products, IDC.
Earlier this month, Acronis completed a consumer survey regarding data protection, polling the general internet population in seven different countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Japan. Additional results include:
- Nearly 39 percent of the respondents have four or more devices in their household, meaning more end points and data to protect
- Over 29 percent of the respondents experienced data loss
Preparing for cyberattacks with Acronis Active Protection
As a response to the growing ransomware epidemic, Acronis enhanced its backup solutions with innovative, AI-based anti-ransomware technology. Introduced in January 2017, Acronis Active Protection effectively defends both user files and their backups by identifying and blocking ransomware attacks in real-time. In the past 12 months, Acronis Active Protection stopped 200,000 attacks across 180,000 consumer devices.
Acronis also introduced Acronis Ransomware Protection, a free, light-weight version of its AI-based defense that can be used together with other data protection solutions, such as anti-virus and backup software from other vendors. Like the full version of Acronis Active Protection, this free solution monitors system processes in real-time to automatically detect and stop the attacks other solutions can't.
In the event of a ransomware attack, Acronis' technology blocks the malicious process and notifies the user. If any files were damaged in the attack, it facilitates the instant recovery of those affected files.
Advice for World Backup Day
Acronis offers four easy steps to protect data:
- Always have a backup of your important data. Store your data locally and in the cloud to ensure a clean version will survive any data loss event.
- Keep your operating system and software up to date. It will block cybercriminals from entering your system through any known security holes.
- Be mindful of suspicious email, links, and attachments. The most effective infiltration method used by ransomware criminals is their ability to get users to open infected email attachments and to click on links to malicious websites.
- Install anti-virus software on your computer and enable automatic signature updates. If you are on a PC, make sure your Windows Defender is enabled and is up-to-date.
Find out more about how you can protect your data at https://www.acronis.com/en-us/promo/world-backup-day/
Read more about the survey results here: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/blog/posts/world-backup-day-2018-survey-results
Acronis sets the standard for hybrid cloud IT data protection through its backup, active ransomware protection, disaster recovery, and secure file sync and share solutions. Powered by the Acronis AnyData Engine and set apart by its image technology, Acronis delivers easy, fast, complete and affordable data protection of all files, applications and operating systems across any environment—virtual, physical, cloud, mobile and applications. Founded in 2003 in Singapore, with global headquarters in Switzerland, Acronis protects the data of more than 5 million consumers and 500,000 businesses in over 150 countries and 20 languages. With more than 100 patents, Acronis products are consistently named best product of the year and cover a range of features, including migration, cloning, and replication. Today, Acronis solutions are available worldwide through a global network of service providers, distributors, and cloud resellers. Learn more at acronis.com.
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