A survey by global data protection solutions provider firm, Datto, of 100 managed service providers (MSPs) in the region, representing thousands of small businesses, found that 85% reported that their customers had experienced a ransomware attack in the past 12 months.
And, 24% of businesses revealed that they had experienced multiple attacks in a single day.
According to Datto, a number of experts anticipate the frequency of ransomware attacks will grow.
CryptoLocker was found to be the leading strain of ransomware, with 48% of respondents falling victim to the trojan, which targets computers running Microsoft Windows.
The survey also revealed that lack of end-user training, phishing emails and malicious websites and advertisements proved to be the leading sources of ransomware infections.
And, most respondents reported that anti-virus and anti-malware software, employee training and having a data back-up and recovery solution in place were most effective in protecting a business from ransomware attacks.
“Ransomware is not about a couple of hacker kids sitting in the basement and messing around,” said James Bergl, regional director, ANZ for Datto.
“It’s a major enterprise orchestrated by large and well-funded companies, and it’s becoming a massive problem for businesses, regardless of industry or geographical location.
“Our survey found that a considerable number of businesses experienced business-threatening downtime as a result of being attacked, and that most attacks sailed right past the anti-viruses and other measures small businesses think will protect them from such cybercrime.”