Cyber crime is costing businesses worldwide between $4-trillion and $8-trillion annually and has the potential to grow 20-fold over the next few years.

This is the message from cyber protection company Acronis CEO and founder Serguei Beloussov speaking at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2020.

He explains that almost 80% of organisations use more than 50 different cyber security tools, and 37% use more than 100.

“Information is no longer private and businesses need to protect their data now more than ever before. How do we even know whether data is authentic. Data is able to be modified in real-time by cyber criminals and we therefore need to ensure that what we see is real.”

He says that businesses can in a single day face thousands of cyber attacks. The response to each attack should be automated and instant.

Beloussov  notes that the solution is not in multiple products. “A single-product solution is needed that is able to integrated all aspects of cyber protection such as backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, cybersecurity, and endpoint management tools.

“This one-of-a-kind integration will eliminate the complexity of ensuring an organisation’s cybersecurity, while improving its data recovery posture and enabling greater productivity,” he explains.

“Because the weakest link in this chain are humans themselves, a single-source, integrated solution is becoming crucial as cyber attacks grow.”

Cyber protection could be much like addressing the Covid virus, Beloussov explains. There is a prevention element, then detection, response, enhancing the immune system and then recovery.

Citing numerous cases of ransomware attacks, Beloussov says Software AG was hit by a ransomware gang in October 2020 demanding $20-million where the criminals started leaking passports, emails and financials to the public.

San Rafaeie Hospital in Italy had personal data of patients and doctors stolen, and in France CMA CGM, the shipping company, shut down its website and shipping applications due to a ransomware attack.

AJG in the US, a global Fortune 500 insurance broker, went offline after 22 ransomware groups compromised its data, and in Argentina, Border Control experienced a ransomware attack that crippled border crossings. The attackers demanded $4-million not to publish the data.

The just-released Acronis Cyber Readiness Report surveyed 13,400 global companies and remote workers in 17 countries including South Africa in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The report revealed that South Africa was one of five countries that experienced almost twice as many malware attacks than the global average. Globally, 31% of companies reported daily cyberattacks and half were being targeted at least once a week, including in July when a leading manufacturer of GPS technologies allegedly paid $10-million in a WastedLocker ransomware attack.

Acronis Cyber Protection Operating Centers (CPOCs) found that 35% of customer endpoints were exposed to malware attacks that were still getting through prior to the deployment of Acronis Cyber Protect.

The Acronis report reveals that hackers targeting remote workers, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS), and videoconferencing attacks are the most common. 39% of companies have encountered videoconferencing attacks as workers rely on apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams. Cisco recently revealed a vulnerability in its Webex app that could allow attackers to open, read and steal potentially valuable or damaging content.

“Acronis Cyber Protect prevented code execution exploits in Webex before it was patched by Cisco,” Beloussov says.

He adds that Acronis Cyber Protect replaces the multitude of solutions that businesses are currently using into a single solution. Currrently the product is preventing an estimated $150-million in direct losses for customers each year.

“The challenge for organisations is that managing the protection of data across the company network and across all those new devices using a stack of different solutions is expensive, time-consuming and complicated. The lack of integration also creates gaps in the organisation’s defenses that cybercriminals are exploiting,” he says.

Peter French, MD of Synapsys, distributor of Acronis Cyber Protection in Africa, adds: “This new product comes at the right time – businesses are struggling to safeguard their data and infrastructure against the risks of the new remote work landscape.”