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Are Federal U.S. Agencies Able to Recover from Ransomware Attacks?

As the number of reported ransomware attacks continues to rise, companies around the globe are strengthening their systems and increasing security across the board. In an effort to mitigate any potential damage done in the wake of such an incident, it's not unusual to see an organization go to great lengths in order to safeguard their network.

However, as we've learned in the past, even the most secure of systems are still susceptible to hackers, malicious software, and, specifically, ransomware. Even more troubling is the fact that many systems – including a plethora of federal agencies within the United States – might not be able to recover quickly from a large scale attack.

This news stems from a recent report, entitled "Ransomware threats: Is your agency ready?" – and it highlights many of the inadequacies seen amongst governmental agencies of today. In fact, the survey, which polled 150 IT figureheads on the federal and state levels, uncovered some troubling statistics.

Looking at the Hard Facts

According to the poll, 30 percent of federal respondents have experienced a ransomware attack since 2016 and 32 percent have experienced ransomware on the state level. In addition, one in four – or approximately 25 percent – eventually gave in and paid the demanded ransom. Even more troubling is the fact that 10 percent of those companies were unable to recover their data – even after paying.

While 67 percent indicated that they were able to recover their data, even after refusing to pay, approximately 9 percent of non-payers ended up losing valuable data in the end. As you can see, ransomware attacks aren't so cut-and-dry; and the outcome is never guaranteed – even if you give in and pay the demanded ransom.

A Growing Problem

The report goes on to suggest that the threats from ransomware will only grow worse in coming years. Approximately 80 percent of respondents agree with this assumption and believe that ransomware will only become an even bigger threat in 2020 and beyond.

Moreover, only 34 percent of federal respondents agree that their organization would be able to make a functional recovery within 12 hours after an attack. With such a small number of governmental organizations confident in the ransomware response plan, it's easy to see how serious of a threat this has become.

To make matters even more grim, most governmental agencies can't immediately improve their ransomware response plan. According to 40 percent of the survey's respondents, lack of proper budgeting is one of the biggest challenges faced when trying to strengthen an agency's network defense. A lack of awareness is also to blame.

The Rising Costs of Ransomware

Per the latest statistics, the cost of ransomware damages will reach $20 billion by 2021. While this number includes companies and organizations in both the public and private sectors, it's a troubling fact that only highlights the severity of the ransomware problem. If left unchecked, this number could inflate even further.

The report was produced by FedScoop and underwritten by Veritas Technology. For more information, or to download the full report, please visit


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