Many Global Internet Users Unprepared for Dealing with Ransomware Attack

One in Four (24%) Wouldn’t Know What to Do; Only 16% Would Be Able to Retrieve their Data from a Back-Up

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Toronto, ON – As institutions around the world continue to assess the full impact of the recent Wannacry ransomware attack, research from Ipsos suggests that many global citizens are distinctly unprepared for how to deal with such an attack affecting them personally.

The 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Study on Internet Security and Trust, which was carried out across 24 economies for a third consecutive year, finds that one in four (24%) internet users around the world would have no idea what to do if their device were hit by a ransomware attack. Many would seek help from some form of authority: either through contacting law enforcement (22%), their internet service provider (15%) or a private IT firm (9%). Fewer than two in ten (16%) say they would be able to retrieve their data from a clean backup, while a further 13% would conclude the data is irretrievable and reformat the device. Just 3% of global internet users say they would pay the ransom.

While still comparatively rare, ransomware attacks such as Wannacry are very much a real threat in today’s highly interconnected world. Indeed, the survey finds that six per cent of internet users around the world have personally been a victim of ransomware. Internet users in India (15%), Indonesia (15%), China (10%), and the United States (10%) are the most likely to have been personally affected. Globally, one in ten (11%) internet users say that while they themselves have not been affected, someone they know has been a victim of a ransomware attack. Internet users in Indonesia (22%), India (19%), Mexico (16%), Italy (16%) and Sweden (16%) are the most likely to know a ransomware victim.

Despite just 3% of global internet users claiming they would pay the ransom if such an attack were to happen to them, the reality is quite different for people who have already lived through an attack: globally, four in ten (41%) past victims say they paid the ransom. Ransomware victims in China (74%), India (67%), the US (67%), and Brazil (62%) are most likely to have handed over the money. Among those who paid, nine in ten (91%) say they were subsequently able to unlock their device, though internet users living in Europe (85%) were less likely to see their device unlocked after paying the ransom.

The top reason for choosing not to pay the ransom (59% of past victims opted not to) is a refusal to pay criminals: nearly half (45%) of those who didn’t pay up say that paying criminals isn’t right. Only three in ten (29%) say that their data was all safely backed up somewhere else.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll for CIGI conducted between December 23, 2016 and March 21, 2017. The survey was conducted in 24 economies – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States – and involved 24,255 Internet users. Twenty of the economies utilized the Ipsos Internet panel system while Tunisia was conducted via Ipsos Computer-Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI), and Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan utilized face-to-face interviewing. Respondents were aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and 16-64 in all other economies. Approximately 1,000+ individuals were surveyed in each economy and are weighted to match the online population in each economy surveyed. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points. For those surveys conducted by CATI, the margin of error accuracy is +/- 3.1. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:


Fen Hampson
Director, Global Security & Politics Program
+1 518 885-2444 ext. 7201

For Ipsos:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Global
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001

About CIGI

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

Many Global Internet Users Unprepared for Dealing with Ransomware Attack


Darrell Bricker
CEO, Global
Ipsos Public Affairs