Ransomware attacks that encrypt critical data and then extort ransom payments for the decryption key are among the biggest cyber risks for enterprises of all sizes in every industry, with the double-extortion tactic of later threatening to publish sensitive stolen documents if a further payment is not made, gaining momentum.

Any organization that is connected to the internet is at risk, and the impact can be devastating, making ransomware the biggest existential threat for small and medium-sized companies, which typically struggle to recover from the disruption of ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks are increasing in number, sophistication, and impact, with one study showing that the number of attacks worldwide increased 282% in the second half of 2020 compared with the first six months, and then increased a further 14% in the first half of 2021.

Ransomware has become industrialized, with several groups offering ransomware-as-a-service, and it is big business, with the...

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