New Research Shows Ransomware is not just in Healthcare: Education and Government Sectors Experience Highest Rates of Attack

Latest BitSight Insights Shows Rise in Cyber Crime Across Numerous Industries

BitSight, the standard in Security Ratings, today released a new BitSight Insights report titled, “The Rising Face of Cyber Crime: Ransomware,” which analyzed Security Ratings of nearly 20,000 companies to identify common forms of ransomware and to determine which industries (amongst Finance, Healthcare, Education, Energy/Utilities, Retail, and Government) are most likely to experience attacks. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

“Ransomware is a legitimate threat, with estimates from the U.S. Justice Department showing that over 4,000 of these attacks have occurred every day since the beginning of 2016,” said Stephen Boyer, co-founder and CTO of BitSight. “While several ransomware attacks on healthcare companies have made headlines this year, the issue is more widespread. Our analysis shows that the Education sector is actually the most impacted group, followed by Government. Establishing email security protocols, monitoring key third-party vendors, tracking security ratings and avoiding file sharing are all ways to mitigate risks associated with ransomware.”

Key Findings

  • Ransomware Gaining Traction

The rate of ransomware has significantly increased for every industry examined over the last 12 months. Cyber criminals seem to be finding a lucrative business through ransomware attacks.

  • Education Has Highest Rate of Ransomware

Education has the highest rate of ransomware of all industries examined in this report. In fact, these institutions have over three times the rate of ransomware found in Healthcare and more than ten times the rate found in Finance.

  • Government’s Ransomware Dilemma

Of the six industries examined, Government had the second-lowest security rating and the second-highest rate of ransomware. In fact, ransomware in this sector more than tripled over the last 12 months.

  • Ransomware Continues to Rapidly Evolve

Over one in ten organizations in Education has been impacted by Nymaim, while 34 different Government groups have been hit with Locky, which was discovered only eight months ago.

  • The Ransomware Threat to Finance

Although ransomware is not typically associated with the Finance industry, researchers discovered that more than 115 different Financial Services organizations have some form of ransomware on their corporate networks.

The BitSight Security Ratings Platform generates objective, outside-in ratings on companies’ security performance. Using evidence of security outcomes from networks around the world, BitSight applies sophisticated algorithms to produce daily security ratings ranging from 250 to 900, where higher ratings equate to lower risk. BitSight provides Security Ratings to more than 450 companies, including 60 Fortune 500’s.

To download a copy of the BitSight Insights report, visit