(credit: Blue Coat)

Large UK companies are amongst the hardest hit by ransomware in western countries according to a new report that found that more than half had been affected by it—and that nine percent had been left “entirely unable to operate.”

Ransomware is clearly a growth industry in Britain; 58 percent of IT directors in this country have paid ransoms in the past, and the UK experiences more attacks than the Canada, Germany, and the US, where bosses are 21 times less likely to give in to hackers’ demands.

Ransomware is malicious software which locks users out of key files or their entire system using tough encryption until the owner pays up. It’s a relatively simple scam, and according to Malwarebytes, who commissioned the report, gaining rapidly in popularity. The vast majority of attacks are coming through an endpoint, with 46 percent originating from an e-mail.

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Report claims more than half of UK firms have been hit by ransomware