Thousands of Dutch businesses victim to ransomware; Small companies more likely targets

August 4, 2023  –AMSTERDAM – About 6,000 companies were victims of extortion with ransomware in 2021, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports. That is the only year for which the stats office has figures on the subject. CBS researcher Luuk Hovius therefore, could not say whether ransomware attacks are becoming more common. 

About two-thirds of the victims were self-employed or freelancers. According to Hovius, this may be because small businesses have fewer resources to protect themselves against this malware, which blocks access to your data until you pay a ransom. 

“Large companies have an IT department and software against attacks,” said Hovius. Large companies with over 250 employees are relatively the most affected, at 4 percent. In comparison, 0.3 percent of self-employed fell victim to ransomware. 

Over one in ten companies paid the ransom to regain access to their data. Over half of those payments were more than half of the company’s revenue. That’s because small businesses were most likely to pay the ransom. Most entrepreneurs didn’t get their data back after paying. 

Companies can also lose money in other ways due to a ransomware attack, according to Hovius. If a website is down, a webshop can miss sales, for example, leading to financial problems. The researcher could not say how often this occurs. 

He advised small businesses to back up their corporate data to limit damage from an attack. Keep in mind that it can happen to you, too,” said Hovius. 


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