46 percent of ransomware attacks happen in the US but who are the targets?

US companies are the most affected by ransomware, with 46 percent of all ransomware attacks happening there, according to new research by cybersecurity company NordLocker.

But just who is being targeted? The research finds that out of 18 industries identified, construction accounts for 12 percent of all attacks. Next most likely to be hit are manufacturing (9.6 percent), transportation (8.2 percent), healthcare (7.8 percent), and tech/IT (7.6 percent).

"Ransomware gangs usually decide who their next target is based on two criteria. The first one is how likely the targeted company is to pay up, which is weighed by looking at variables such as the company's importance in supply chains, the quantity of confidential information that it handles, and other factors that, in the case of an attack, put pressure on the company to get operations back up and running. The second criteria is more straightforward and primarily deals with the depth of the company’s pockets and how lacking in cyber defenses their business is," says NordLocker's CTO Tomas Smalakys. "When you look at the data through this lens, you see why certain industries are more affected than others."

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Size matters too. In the US, micro and small businesses (up to 200 employees) are at the highest risk, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all attacks (65.8 percent). Companies with an employee count of between 51-200 are the victims of 28.9 percent of attacks, while those with between 11-50 employees are victims of 22.4 percent of ransomware hacks, and those with between 201-500 deal with 15.6 percent of attacks.

Among other findings 5.4 percent of ransomware attacks targeted public sector institutions, including a major city's police department and several county offices. Where you live can also make a difference, the state of Michigan is the most affected by ransomware, while Missouri is the least.

The full report is available on the NordLocker site.

Image credit: Wavebreakmedia/depositphotos.com

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