A study by cybersecurity company NordLocker recently revealed that India is among the top ten countries hit by ransomware attacks with more than half targeted at the countrys small businesses.Small businesses with an employee base of 500 are at the highest risk of ransomware attacks, accounting for around 54 percent of total attacks from January 2020 to July 2022. Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that forces a companys operations to a halt by taking possession of its most crucial and sensitive files and demanding a ransom from the company to get the data back. This type of attack is extremely effective. In the past few years, cases have grown exponentially, while cybersecurity awareness has failed to catch up, said Tomas Smalakys, NordLockers Chief Technology Officer.The study analysed numerous databases of ransomware incidents that affected over 5,000 companies worldwide. The study highlights that business size is a major indicator of how likely a business is to be targeted by a ransomware attack. It found out that 17 per cent of ransomware attacks in India targeted businesses with a turnover of ₹80 billion and more. However, 41.5 per cent ransomware attacks target Indian companies with annual revenue between ₹8 to 40 billion. Some of the most active ransomware gangs in India are LockBit and Ragnar Locker, responsible for 13 per cent and 7.80 per cent of attacks, respectively. Small businesses are top targets for ransomware gangs because, for them, cybersecurity is often an afterthought. Smaller companies justifiably prioritise growing their operation, leaving cybersecurity on the sidelines. This, combined with the usually thin profit margins small businesses endure, makes them not only easy to hack but very likely to pay up as well, because they do not have the funds to sustain a prolonged halt to operations, highlighted Smalakys.Companies with an employee count between 201-500 are the victims of 22.60 per cent of attacks, and those between 1,001-5,000 employees are victims of 17 per cent of ransomware hack. The study underlined that companies with more than 10,000 employees fell prey to 11.3 per cent of ransomware attacks as compared to the companies with lesser workforce. Importantly, 21 per cent of attacks in India target companies that are publicly traded, the report said.The top five sectors prone to cyber-attacks are: Information Technology (IT) sector (at 23.40 per cent) followed by manufacturing (10.90 per cent), consumer services (9.4 per cent), finance (9.4 per cent), and energy (6.3 per cent) respectively.