UK firms ‘leaving themselves wide open to ransomware’

Hacks up as Heartbleed fuels panicOver half of all UK firms are still running Windows XP, the Microsoft software which has been exploited by the WannaCry virus, heightening concerns that British businesses are woefully under-prepared for ransomware attacks.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has already warned firms that they face enforcement action if it is found that they did not take adequate steps to protect customer information.
Now, data released by Spiceworks found that 52% of UK companies are still running at least one instance of Windows XP, with many IT professionals citing budget constraints and a lack of time as their main reasons for not upgrading. Windows XP is still installed on 14% of business computers worldwide.
Meanwhile a study by Timico shows that two thirds of UK businesses have no official ransomware policy in place, meaning they could be leaving themselves wide open to such attacks.
The survey of a 1,000 UK businesses which had fallen victim to ransomware found that many have no guidance for staff on what to do when an attack occurs.
Over two thirds of the firms reported that they felt the effects of a ransomware attack instantly, with their data systems becoming essentially useless within seconds; some 85% said their systems were down for a week or more.
A third (33%) saw systems go down for more than a month, with 15% reporting their data as ‘unrecoverable.’
Timico chief digital officer Nabeil Samara said: “It’s not just a case of the data loss and financial cost to the business. A ransomware attack can have a debilitating effect, with long-term consequences across the business, with the company even breaching terms of any regulatory bodies that the business holds themselves accountable to.”

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