A new report issued by Sophos, The State of Ransomware in Education 2021, found that the education sector as a whole experienced a higher level of ransomware attacks than any other industry in 2021.

Sophos interviewed 499 IT “decision makers” in 30 countries in January and February of 2021.

The findings in the education sector showed that 44 percent of those organizations surveyed were hit by ransomware in the last year, 58 percent said the criminals succeeded in encrypting the data, 35 percent paid the ransom (the average of which was $112,435), and those who paid were returned only 68 percent of their data.

According to Sophos, the education sector experienced the highest level of ransomware attacks and was tied with retail. The education sector also had the highest recovery cost from a ransomware attack, $2.73 million, “the highest by far of all sectors and 48% above the global average.”

Sophos suggests that “education organizations should prioritize strengthening their defenses against ransomware. Investing in modern infrastructure, together with cybersecurity technology and skills, will considerably reduce both the overall cost and impact of ransomware.”