Education and Government in the Ransomware Cross Hairs
September 22, 2016
new BitSight Insights report titled, “The Rising Face of Cyber
Crime: Ransomware,” analyzed Security Ratings of nearly 20,000
companies to identify common forms of ransomware and to
determine which industries (amongst Finance, Healthcare,
Education, Energy/Utilities, Retail, and Government) are most
likely to experience attacks. Ransomware is a type of malicious
software designed to block access to a computer system until a
sum of money is paid.
“Ransomware is a legitimate threat, with estimates from the U.S.
Justice Department showing that over 4,000 of these attacks have
occurred every day since the beginning of 2016,” said Stephen
Boyer, co-founder and CTO of BitSight. “While several ransomware
attacks on healthcare companies have made headlines this year,
the issue is more widespread. Our analysis shows that the
Education sector is actually the most impacted group, followed
by Government. Establishing email security protocols, monitoring
key third-party vendors, tracking security ratings and avoiding
file sharing are all ways to mitigate risks associated with
•Ransomware Gaining Traction
The rate of ransomware has significantly increased for every
industry examined over the last 12 months. Cyber criminals seem
to be finding a lucrative business through ransomware attacks.
•Education Has Highest Rate of Ransomware
Education has the highest rate of ransomware of all industries
examined in this report. In fact, these institutions have over
three times the rate of ransomware found in Healthcare and more
than ten times the rate found in Finance.
Of the six industries examined, Government had the second-lowest
security rating and the second-highest rate of ransomware. In
fact, ransomware in this sector more than tripled over the last
•Ransomware Continues to Rapidly Evolve
Over one in ten organizations in Education has been impacted by
Nymaim, while 34 different Government groups have been hit with
Locky, which was discovered only eight months ago.
•The Ransomware Threat to Finance
Although ransomware is not typically associated with the Finance
industry, researchers discovered that more than 115 different
Financial Services organizations have some form of ransomware on
their corporate networks.
The BitSight Security Ratings Platform generates objective,
outside-in ratings on companies’ security performance. Using
evidence of security outcomes from networks around the world,
BitSight applies sophisticated algorithms to produce daily
security ratings ranging from 250 to 900, where higher ratings
equate to lower risk. BitSight provides Security Ratings to more
than 450 companies, including 60 Fortune 500’s.