The mental impact of ransomware attacks

Track: Law enforcement
Technical level
Time: 14:20
Mississippi

Ransomware volume increased 105% year over year and is up 232% since 2019 (2022 Cyber Threat Report, Sonicwall). However, relatively little is known about the psychological impact of ransomware attacks on people from affected organizations and the cybersecurity experts who first respond to an attack.

We combined qualitative and quantitative study methods to explore the impact of ransomware attacks on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Specifically, we conducted a survey amongst cybersecurity experts who responded to ransomware attacks (Study 1), interviewed board members (Study 2) from organizations who fell victim to ransomware attacks, and conducted a survey amongst employees from affected organizations (Study 3). We hypothesized that the impact of ransomware attacks on victims is negative and long-lasting, due to the traumatizing nature of the experience.

In this session, we share our experience and findings. A better understanding of this topic can contribute to improved support for both victims and responders and, ultimately, hopefully mitigate the negative effects for everyone directly or indirectly affected by ransomware attacks.

Speakers in this session
Director Cyber Security/CTO, Northwave
Director Behaviour & Training, Northwave
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