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Survey: Retailers are not prepared for ransomware attacks

Ransomware is a major threat to retailers.

New data reveals some significant shortcomings in how retailers handle the threat of ransomware.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 global retail IT decision-makers from backup, recovery and storage solutions  provider Arcserve, more than half (54%) of respondents disclosed they were targeted by ransomware in the past 12 months;. One-quarter (26%) of these attacks resulted in compromised data, and 25% of respondents confirmed paying ransom as a result of an attack.

In other troubling signs for the retail industry, two in three respondents said they were not very confident in their ability to recover all lost data in the event of a ransomware attack. More than four in 10 (42%) respondents admitted being unable to recover all data during their last significant data loss incident.

In addition, close to six in 10 (57%) respondents said they lack well-documented or updated disaster recovery plans, and close to three in four (72%) revealed that they do not have specific data resilience goals within their data and backup strategies.

"As we head into the holiday shopping season, retailers can't afford to be caught off guard,” said Aftab Alam, chief product officer at Arcserve. “Retailers must urgently overhaul their disaster recovery plans to match the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Data resilience isn't a 'nice-to-have'; it's a non-negotiable business requirement with clear, measurable objectives. And don't wait for a crisis to test your recovery protocols; make it a regular practice, akin to a fire drill. By taking these steps, retailers do more than protect their bottom line - they retain the trust of their customers."

This survey was completed by 1,121 IT retail decision-makers completed the survey. All participants had a budget or technical decision-making responsibility for data management, data protection, and storage solutions at a company with 100 - 2,500 employees and at least 5 TB of data. The survey was fielded in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, and Korea.

Visa: Ransomware on the rise

The fall 2023 "Biannual Threats Report" from Visa Inc. concurs with the findings of the Arcware study. While Visa data indicates the global fraud rate trended lower than normal expected fraud levels during the report’s first half 2023 time period, it also shows that ransomware attacks continued to grow in prevalence.

Report data indicates March 2023 surpassed prior ransomware attack records for the most incidents in one month, with nearly 460 attacks, a 91% increase month-over-month and 62% year-over-year. Exploited vulnerabilities (36%) were the most common root cause of ransomware attacks, followed by compromised credentials (29%).

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