How Consumers View Ransomware and Security after WannaCry

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It’s been two weeks since WannaCry first made the news around the world. The ransomware took control over more than 300,000 PCs across 150 countries.

Just like any other massive security incident, the publicity had many people outside of tech talking about the security of their data and thinking about how well they would be able to fend off a similar attack.

According to a report released this week by security provider Carbon Black, based on responses from 5,000 people, 57 percent of consumers said WannaCry was their first exposure to how ransomware works. Here are five more takeaways from the report.

1. Consumers Inclined to Pay Ransom

More than half of consumers surveyed (52 percent) said they would pay a ransom, which is actually an ill-advised way to deal with ransomware attacks; 12 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay $500 or more to hackers demanding ransom. The majority of consumers (59 percent) would pay less than $100 to get their data back.

2. Consumers Think Companies Need to Bear Brunt of Responsibility

Despite a common understanding in the broader community that security is a shared responsibility, most consumers still believe that it is up to the company that houses the data to keep it safe.

According to Carbon Black, the onus of responsibility to keep consumer data safe is the organizations themselves, followed by cybersecurity companies and software vendors.

3. Consumers Most Trusting of Healthcare, Financial Firms

Interestingly, despite ongoing reports of healthcare organizations dealing with patient data incorrectly, consumers are actually more trusting of healthcare firms and financial institutions than retailers.

Seventy-percent of consumers trust healthcare and financial firms to keep data safe, versus 52 percent of consumers who trust retailers with their data. This is likely connected to the public’s perception of how retailers handle data after the big data breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot over the past several years.

4. Consumers Unforgiving of Security Slip-ups

Perhaps one of the most critical findings of the report is how willing consumers are to find a new provider in the instance of their current financial, healthcare or retailer being hit by ransomware. Seventy-two percent of consumers said they would consider leaving their financial institution if it was hit by ransomware, compared to 68 percent of consumers who said the same of their healthcare provider, and 70 percent who said the same of their retailers.

It is important to note that it is much easier to decide not to shop somewhere than transfer accounts and healthcare records.

5. Consumers Most Protective of Financial Data, Personal Photos

Financial data and personal photos and videos are the data that most consumers hold dear, while only 5 percent of consumers said medical records were their most valuable personal information, tied with phone data.

While financial data and personal photos are certainly important and valuable information, medical records are extremely valuable on the black market, according to cybersecurity experts, up to 20x more valuable than credit card data.

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One Comment

  1. In London the vast majority of (household) victims paid. Can't speak for business/govt. Interesting the threshold levels of what they're willing to pay - do hackers price their ransom with this in mind? Interesting article.

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