Rising demand for ransomware threatens Canadian companies

Ransomware assaults in Canada this year demanded and received much larger sums of money, according to new research from cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks.

According to the analysis, which polled 1,000 mid-sized businesses’ IT decision-makers, the average ransom paid by targeted enterprises has increased to almost $1.13 million, a 150% spike from two years earlier.

Furthermore, the average ransom demanded by threat actions increased dramatically, rising from $449,868 in 2021 to $906,115 in 2023, a whopping 102% rise.

A smaller percentage of businesses were willing to pay the ransom, notwithstanding these substantial increases. The percentage of people who stated their firm paid to restore access to their data dropped from 45% in 2021 to 34% this year.

Threat actors’ most frequent targets in 2023 were detailed in the report as well. Nearly half of all businesses (47%) that reported being the target of a ransomware attack this year were in the manufacturing sector. Third place went to the construction industry with 38%, while healthcare and pharmaceuticals placed second with 35%.

More than half of the affected businesses (58%) also reported an additional month of downtime after the attack. More than a quarter of those who sought help reported a four-month or longer recovery time.

Leading Canadian firms’ cybersecurity concerns
Palo Alto Networks’ Canadian Ransomware Barometer also features information about the most pressing cybersecurity issues faced by businesses.

Seventy percent or more of the people surveyed felt more threatened since the advent of AI technologies. Additionally, they expressed growing anxiety about the potential consequences of AI on cyber threats, such as automated phishing (21%), data privacy problems (21%), and sophisticated cyberattacks (19%).

Data breaches (68%), phishing attacks (60%), and ransomware (53%), in addition to AI, were listed as the top worries by respondents.

The research indicated that 20% of organizations had raised expenditures on cybersecurity software, with 51% increasing spending significantly in response to this threat picture. In addition, over half of the companies have either revised or introduced new cybersecurity training programs for their staff.

According to Daniel Roy, VP and national manager for Canada at Palo Alto Networks, “more businesses recognize the need to be proactive and have the right security strategy in place to prevent attacks and lessen the impact of an attack.”