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Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Sophos Field CTO John Shier on the Latest Annual Report on the State of Ransomware

John Shier, field CTO at Sophos

Ransomware attacks have slightly declined in frequency but have grown more sophisticated and costly over the past five years. “The criminals are doing what criminals do, and they just lie and cheat their way to profit,” said John Shier, field CTO at Sophos.

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Shier emphasized the substantial increase in ransom demands and the strategic importance of maintaining robust backup systems. More than 90% of the attacks targeted backups, and about 57% were successful in compromising them, Shier said, citing the annual State of Ransomware report. “While we are making some inroads,” he said, “there’s still a lot of ransomware out there.”

“We have seen a five-times increase in the median ransomware payments,” he said. “We are seeing that the threat actors out there are stealing data about one-third of the time. They are going after backups much more than they have before … And in a piece of good news, a lot of the victims are contacting law enforcement to help deal with these ransomware attacks.”

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at RSA Conference 2024, Shier also discussed:

  • Findings from Sophos’ annual State of Ransomware Report;
  • Why enhanced focus on backup integrity is critical;
  • How organizations are collaborating with law enforcement when ransomware attacks occur.

Shier is a 12-year veteran of Sophos. He constantly studies emerging cyberattacks and the technology that combats these threats, including encryption and synchronized security. Previously, he was channel sales engineer and senior field sales engineer in North America at Sophos.

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