Ransomware has been identified as the most serious malware threat of the 21st century, according to a new survey by Acronis.
Criminals are projected to extort US$5 billion from their victims in 2017 using various means, including leveraging a hard-drive-encrypting virus.
Cyber criminals use this virus to force users to choose between paying an online ransom and losing their files forever.
Most users are completely unaware of the threat posed by ransomware attacks, and are not prepared to handle 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."
Experiencing data loss
More than 34 percent of the 10,000 respondents polled in Southeast Asia, Japan, North America and the ANZ region said that they, or their family members, have experienced data loss.
Over 26 percent 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.
More than 62 percent of respondents said they have never heard of ransomware, and more than 67 percent placed great importance on their personal information, documents, pictures, videos and music.
Only 5.8 percent realised that it can cost more than US$500 to recover their data after a ransomware attack.
"Security threats are certainly coming after consumers, not just enterprises," said Eric O'Neill, former FBI counter-terrorism and counterintelligence operative, in a recent 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."
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