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How to protect against, or recover from, ransomware

Every 11 seconds an organisation falls victim to a ransomware attack.*

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware). When it gets into your device, it makes your computer or its files unusable.

Cybercriminals use ransomware to deny you access to your files or devices. They then demand you pay them to get back your access.

The toll on SMB

How this type of cyber threat is
affecting businesses in Australia

An Easy Target

Ransomware groups thrive on the profit they gain from poor corporate accountability and a lack of cyber threat awareness, which are both unfortunately quite common in Australia.

The number of ransomware incidents affecting local organisations increased by 24 per cent in the first six months of 2021, according to data from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) latest notifiable data breaches report.

Not every company that is a victim of ransomware proceeds to report the incident to the OAIC, thus official statistics are far lower than the reality. The OAIC tells us there have been “a number of entities” deciding they didn’t have to notify them of a ransomware event due to “lack of evidence” that attackers accessed data.

Ransomed for Millions

A recent survey of 200 senior IT decision-makers and security professionals across Australia’s major industry sectors paints a scary picture of the number of unpublicised cyber crimes in Australia. 

Two thirds of those surveyed had suffered a ransomware attack in the 12-month period to November 2020.

Of those attacked, one-third — or 44 Australian organisations — paid the ransom.

The survey uncovered that the average ransom amount was $1.25 million – a rough total of at least $55 million in ransom payments.

The threat is on the rise in Australia

The world of cybersecurity is tight-lipped but it’s an open secret: For years, Australian organisations have been quietly paying millions in ransoms to hackers after having their data stolen or encrypted.

This money has funded criminal organisations, giving them the resources they need to plot bolder and more elaborate attacks, creating a vicious cycle.

Now experts say Australia, and the world at large, are facing a “tsunami of cyber crime”.

There was a 60% increase in ransomware attacks against Australian entities in the past year, according to the ACSC.

Rise in reports from 2022 to 2023
in 3
businesses pay the ransom
The average ransom paid by Aussie companies
Increase in ransomware attacks in the past year


What to look for

Ransomware can infect your devices in the same way as other malware or a virus. For example:

Common signs you may be a victim of ransomware include:

If any of these things happen to you, check with your friends and colleagues first to see if they made any changes.


Our advice and recommendations

Protective measures can prevent ransomware from occurring in the first place. Visit this page for a handy checklist of preventative steps you can take.

If you have been breached, we recommend you do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee paying the ransom will fix your devices. It can also make you vulnerable to future attacks. Instead, restore your files from backup and seek advice.

For this reason, it is vital to back up your data and put effective cyber security practices in place.

Depending on the scale of the breach, it is also imperative that you immediately activate security controls and/or get in with a cybersecurity provider for advice and guidance. 

The latest on Ransomware

Gridware is proud to be a thought-leader in cybersecurity, creating and leading conversations in this space. Check out a selection of our published work from our Sydney based Cyber Defence Centre (CDC), and learn how our cyber expertise has led to partnerships with leading Australian Universities.

Investigation Underway for Major Data Breach Impacting Over 1 Million NSW Club and Merivale Customers

Qantas App Glitch Exposes Personal Data as Users Accidentally Access Others’ Accounts

MediaWorks New Zealand Data Breach Exposes 2.4 Million

Investigation Underway for Major Data Breach Impacting Over 1 Million NSW Club and Merivale Customers

Qantas App Glitch Exposes Personal Data as Users Accidentally Access Others’ Accounts

MediaWorks New Zealand Data Breach Exposes 2.4 Million

How Gridware can help

Security Assessments

As a provider of CREST-approved penetration testing as well as vulnerability assessment, social engineering and red teaming services, Redscan’s ethical hacking team has extensive experience of assessing organisations’ technology, personnel and processes against the latest attack techniques and helping organisations to address them.

Proactive Monitoring

Firewalls and antivirus software are unable to comprehensively defend against the latest types of memory-resident and polymorphic malware.

Our certified security professionals employ cutting-edge threat intelligence to hunt for malware and other cyber threats and help quickly shut them down.

Training & Awareness

Your users are your last line of defense. Educate them about the latest email threats, and ensure they understand their fraudulent nature and know how to report them to your security teams. Barracuda security awareness training and phishing simulation provides all necessary tools to train your users to recognize and report phishing emails, which will prevent email fraud and data loss.

Protect your data

If ransomware does take control of your data, there’s no need to pay a ransom or go through a difficult and tedious recovery process — if you have a strong, modern, easy-to-use backup solution. We offer superior backup solutions — on-premises or in the cloud — that make it simple and fast to restore an up-to-date copy of any file, whether you’re restoring an entire server or specifically selecting files to restore.


Sydney Offices
Level 12, Suite 6
189 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
1300 211 235

Melbourne Offices
Level 13, 114 William Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
1300 211 235

Perth Offices
Level 32, 152 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
1300 211 235


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