US and Canada among countries most attacked by ransomware

By Kate Birch
New research from NordLocker shows United States is top and Canada third for ransomware cyber attacks – construction industry is hardest hit

Research by NordLocker has found the United States is the leading country hit by ransomware attacks in 2020 and 2021, with Canada coming third, behind the UK. The researchers looked at 1,200 companies targeted by 10 of the leading ransomware gangs.

“The latest statistics indicate that a worrying 37% of companies worldwide became victims of ransomware in 2020,” says Oliver Noble, a cybersecurity expert at NordLocker, an encrypted cloud service provider. 

The data shows the top five countries attacked are the US (732 cases), UK (74), Canada (62), France (58), and Germany (39).

Construction and manufacturing are most victimised industries

NordLocker’s analysis shows construction is the industry hardest hit by ransomware (93 companies), followed by manufacturing (86), finance (69), healthcare (65), education (63), technology & IT (62), logistics & transportation (59), automotive (56), municipal services (52), and legal (49).

“It is surprising how many companies still undervalue cybersecurity, inviting hackers to exploit their vulnerabilities,” says Noble. “When successfully attacked, companies lose access to all their employee data, customer details, client agreements, patents, and other valuable business information and threatened that this information will be stolen, leaked, or destroyed for good.

"To avoid a doomsday, i.e. business operations put to a standstill, damaged reputation, loss of clients, tiresome legal battles, and huge fines, some organisations are left with no choice but to pay the ransom to get the decryption key.”

However, not many businesses can afford paying the hackers off. It is estimated that the average total cost of recovery from ransomware has more than doubled from around US$761k in 2020 to US$1.85m in 2021. And the most worrying fact is that paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee that you will get back what’s been taken away. There’s also no guarantee your business won’t get attacked again.

The study focussed on ransomware gangs including Conti (450 attacks), REvil (210), DopplePaymer (200), and PYSA (188) – some of the most notorious cybercrime groups.

 

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