Canadians Not Protecting Themselves from Ransomware Attacks: New Data from ESET

Survey finds Millennials most likely to never back up files and most likely to pay the ransom

TORONTO, May 24, 2016 /CNW/ - ESET®, a global pioneer in proactive protection for more than two decades, today released, new data showing  that, although two-thirds of Canadians know what ransomware is, most are not taking steps to defend against it.

"Despite a rise in attacks and the increased attention ransomware has received in the last year, many Canadians still aren't protecting themselves," said ESET Senior Security Researcher Stephen Cobb.

The survey found that:

  • 63% of Canadians are not, or don't know if they are, protecting themselves from ransomware with security software
  • 60% of Canadians are not backing up their files regularly (at least once per month)
    • 28% of Canadians never back up their personal files (photos, documents, music, bank details, etc.)

"One of the most important things anyone can do to protect themselves from cyberthreats like ransomware is to eliminate the potential loss of documents, photos, music and personal information by regularly backing up their files," said Cobb. "While we are seeing that increased education efforts are helping more people understand the threats that exist, there are still far too many Canadians not taking the necessary steps to defend themselves." 

Interestingly, despite Millennials' reputation for being tech-savvy, the data showed that they are the least prepared to handle a ransomware attack:

  • 35% of 18-24 year olds do not know what ransomware is, compared to 31% of 65+ year olds
  • They are most likely to never back up their computer, at 35% vs. 28% for 45-54 year olds
  • They are least likely to back up their computer once/week, at 19% vs. 32% for 45-54 year olds
  • Millennials are most likely to pay the ransom in a ransomware attack, at 15%, vs. 5% of 65+ year olds

This survey comes on the heels of a report from the ESET research team that shows that ransomware is on the rise. In fact, ESET LiveGrid® detected a significant increase in detections of the malware from October 2015 to March 2016. Practical tips consumers and businesses should take to defend against ransomware attacks can be found here.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (or malware) that holds files hostage until a ransom is paid. In April, the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) issued a joint alert with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to warn about the proliferation of ransomware. It is estimated that Canadians were affected by more than 1,600 ransomware attacks per day in 2015.

About ESET:
Since 1987, ESET® has been developing award-winning security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfolio covers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Toronto, Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires. For more information visit, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About the survey:
This survey was conducted via Google Consumer Surveys from March 23-27, 2016, with a sample size of 1,507 Canadians.

SOURCE Eset Canada Inc.

Image with caption: "Eset Canada Inc. (CNW Group/Eset Canada Inc.)". Image available at:

For further information: ESET Canada, Sarah Blazak, (416) 721-3778,

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