According to a new report by Datto, Inc. (its third annual Global State of the Channel Ransomware Report), ransomware continues to be the top cyber-attack experienced by small- and medium-sized companies.

Some managed service providers were surveyed in Singapore, the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe. Fifty-five percent of them said their clients had experienced a ransomware attack in the first six months of 2018 and 35 percent said those clients had been attacked multiple times in the same day. Unfortunately, 92 percent of the respondents predict that the number of ransomware attacks will continue at the same or an increased rate in 2019.

The report further states that antivirus software alone is not protecting businesses from these attacks. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said the affected clients had antivirus protection in place; 65 percent said victims had email and spam filters in place, and 29 percent reported that victims also had pop-up blockers that did not block the ransomware attacks.

How did the ransomware get through these protections? The report states that employees continue to be the downfall, and that employee education is the primary defense. Clients were victims of ransomware attacks due to successful phishing attacks, as well as employees clicking on malicious websites, web ads and clickbait schemes directed at small businesses.

This is more evidence of the importance of educating employees on how to identify phishing attacks, and the risks associated with malicious websites and web ads.