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WannaCry fever pays off for cyber security giant Sophos

Margi Murphy
How the Petya ransomware attack appeared on PC screens when it  - TASS

The ransomware attack on the NHS and new data protection laws helped cap a buoyant year for cybersecurity company Sophos.

The FTSE 250 technology company reported a 22pc growth in billings - an indicator of future revenues - to $768.6m (£582m) for the year ending March 31.

Sophos reported a 20pc increase in adjusted operating profit to $46m almost exactly a year on from the WannaCry virus took hold of 200,000 computers in 150 countries.

"The well-publicised cyber attacks of the past twelve months have further raised awareness and strengthened demand," Chief executive officer, Kris Hagerman said. "The need for businesses to secure their IT infrastructure and data has never been greater."

“This was particularly notable in the first half of our fiscal year when the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks among others, brought into sharp focus the threat posed to organisations by ransomware.”

To balance the inevitable drop in activity following the WannaCry frenzy, Hagerman said Sophos would continue to prioritise investing in technology.

WannaCry demanded around $300 worth of Bitcoin to release files held on the infected device Credit: EPA

Sophos, which provides firewalls and software security for business, has invested heavily in machine learning along with cyber security researchers to collect and analyse “enormous amounts of malware”.

This Oxfordshire-headquartered business, which employs more than 3,000 people, recorded “strong growth” for Intercept X, a flagship product that uses neural networks to detect potentially harmful software on a customers’ machine before it takes control.

Billings for flagship product Sophos Central had increased by 112pc to $186m.

Sophos reported a loss before before taxation of $52 million, from $49 million the previous year, after the negative impact of financing foreign exchange losses.

Shares in Sophos climbed 7pc on Thursday, returning to growth having seen a lost more than a third of their value in April since the start of the year.