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NEW DELHI : Indian firms have been facing a growing number of ransomware attacks over 2021, as cybercriminals try to compromise their infrastructure to crack larger companies.

Almost half (49%) of organizations in India suffered multiple ransomware attacks, while 76% were hit by at least one ransomware attack in the past 12 months, as per a survey by US security firm CrowdStrike and market research firm Vanson Bourne. This is more than any other country, the 7 December report said.

Many Indian companies even gave in to extortion demands of attackers to avoid an attack. The report found that 27% of Indian companies had paid extortion fees of $500,000 to $1 million. India accounted for the highest average extortion fee payment ($ 1.128 million) on top of ransom. The average ransom amount paid by Indian companies was $2.92 million, while 26% of Indian companies even paid a ransom of $5 million to $10 million, the report said.

“Cyberattacks are increasing globally and we’re seeing a similar trend in India," said Mark Goudie, APJ services director at CrowdStrike.

India has seen a massive increase in the adoption of IT and digital technologies in response to the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic and shift to remote and hybrid work models.

Last week, global research firm Gartner also predicted that Indian companies will spend more than $100 billion on IT infra. Security researchers have said that the shift to remote and hybrid work have expanded the “attack surface" and made Indian companies easy targets for ransomware attacks. Attack surface is the total number of points of entry for a hacker.

Covid has created a fertile ground for threat actors to capitalize on security vulnerabilities, but the attacks are growing even after the second year of the pandemic, Goudie said. “Much of this is down to threat actors evolving their tactics, techniques and procedures but also because of organizations still relying on legacy security solutions that are just not fit for purpose," he said.

Indian organizations have limited access to threat intelligence, which is exacerbating the problem, he warned. Investment in threat intelligence and threat hunting services can help mitigate the risks, he said. Threat intelligence is the information an organization has to pre-empt cyberattacks, while threat hunting is the process of actively seeking out bugs and other pain points in IT infra.

On the bright side, Indian companies feel they are prepared to deal with future ransomware attacks. The CrowdStrike report shows that 60% of the companies have a comprehensive strategy in place to coordinate a response, while 72% said they have confidence in their IT security, which is the highest globally too.

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