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Acronis Survey Exposes Serious Gap Between Security Risks and User Preparedness

Most users unaware of threat posed by ransomware attacks

Ransomware has emerged as the most serious malware threat of the 21st century, with criminals projected to extort $5 billion from their victims in 2017.

With the help of a hard-drive-encrypting virus, ransomware gangsters force users to choose between paying an online ransom or losing their files forever. The rapid growth of this form of high-tech larceny has led many business and users to leverage cloud-based storage and backup services in an effort to foil ransomware attacks.

Acronis International GmbH completed a consumer backup survey in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan. The results were revealing, beginning with the finding that most users are completely unaware of the threat posed by ransomware attacks, much less how to prepare for them.

This survey exposed a serious disparity between the value assigned to respondent data and what is actually being done to protect that data,” said John Zanni, CMO of Acronis. “This is true for both the consumer market and for businesses.

Backup still remains the most effective vaccine against data loss. Creating a backup before disaster strikes is much more efficient and cost effective than looking for a cure when your data is lost. Affordable backup software is readily available, so there is no excuse for losing your data or exposing it to cyber criminals and ransomware attacks.

General survey findings:

  • Over 34% of respondents said that they, or their family members, have experienced data loss.
  • Over 26% of respondents acknowledged they don’t perform any type of data backup.
  • Those who perform regular backups said that security, ease of use and storage capacity are the most important features in a backup solution.

Ransomware awareness findings:

  • Over 62% of respondents said they have never heard of ransomware.
  • While more than 67% placed great importance on their personal information, documents, pictures, videos and music, only 5.8% realized that it can cost more than $500 to recover their data after a ransomware attack.

Ransomware criminals extorted over $1 billion from victims in 2016 alone, according to the FBI, and while public cases involving hospitals and government agencies receive prime coverage, attacks on home computers go under-reported.

Security threats are certainly coming after consumers, not just enterprises,” commented Eric O’Neill, former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative, in an interview with Acronis. “We tend to think of it as a problem for business or government. The fact of the matter is that most of the malware is affecting grandparents, parents and anyone with an email account and a computer.

Other survey findings:

  • 51.8% of households have more than 4 devices.
  • 26.6% see security as the most important backup feature.
  • A significant portion of respondents, 10.5%, place considerable value on Facebook data.

There are four easy steps to protect data: 

  • Always have a backup of your important data. Choose backup software with local storage, cloud storage, and active protection against ransomware.
  • Keep your OS and software up to date. It will block cyber criminals 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 getting users to open infected email attachments and to click on links to malicious websites.
  • Install antivirus 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.

Special offer from Acronis
Malware attacks and defenses against them are continually evolving. Once the use of backups was proven to be a reliable defense against ransomware, malware gangs began developing ransomware variants that find and attack backup files, too. To answer this new threat, Acronis enhanced its backup solutions with new anti-ransomware technology. Introduced in January 2017, Acronis Active Protection defends both user files and their backups by identifying and blocking ransomware attacks in real-time.

To take advantage of World Backup Day special offer on Acronis True Image and start protecting.