Ransom paid has practically tripled in one year, with the average ransom paid by victim organizations across the US, Canada, and Europe going from $115,123 in 2019 to $312,493 in 2020. That’s a 171% year-over-year increase according to Palo Alto Network’s Unit 42s 2021 Ransomware Threat Report.
Key findings in Unit 42’s report reveal greed and big money extortion tactics aren’t diminishing:
- During 2019-2020 ransom pay-outs doubled from $5 million to $10 million
- Extortion demands doubled from $15 million to $30 million during this same time period
- The Maze ransomware operation demands an average of $4.8 million compared to an average of $847,334
- Netwalker, Ryuk, and WastedLocker ransomware organizations also demand multimillion-dollar pay-offs
Unfortunately, the report also highlighted trends in the past 12 months centering on the victimization of healthcare organizations and those involved in vaccine research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Double extortion tactics were taken on these organizations by stealing their data and threatening to leak it in addition to encrypting it.
Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business models also increased in the past 12 months proving easy to execute and very profitable by diminishing legal risk from the operators onto their affiliates; these cybercriminals are covering all their bases, thinking of every way to corrupt data.
Ransomware gangs additionally have altered their business operating approach with patience by deepening their attack loop and getting thoroughly deployed inside their victim’s data. They are moving away from high volume “spray-and-play” models to “stay-and-play” models focusing on researching victims in advance and compromising their networks for longer periods of time before demanding ransom.
What’s being done globally to combat this economically destructive cybercrime?
The Ransomware Task Force (RTF) has been created and is working diligently to mitigate the ransomware threat with clear and actionable recommendations.
The RTF is focusing on how to:
- Better prepare organizations for a ransomware attack
- How to understand and respond to ransomware attacks
- The barriers involved with stopping organisations from adopting defense measures
- How to make it harder to carry out ransomware attacks
- How to make attacks less destructive
- How to create solutions tailored to the unique needs of different victims
Read more on ransomware and these points specifically on ComputerWeekly.com
The bottom-line harsh reality of what victimized organizations are experiencing is they are “…being held hostage by ransomware, and many are being forced to pay cybercriminals because they’re not equipped to combat the threat for varying reasons, from a lack of recoverable backups to the cost of downtime outweighing the cost of paying the ransom,” said John Davis, Palo Alto’s Vice-President of Public Sector, in Unit 42’s report.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way, present day data protection services are available created specifically for organizations to be prepared in the event of a disaster. Consider the ROI and risk mitigation benefits of being proactive by utilizing a data protection service that will eliminate downtime with recoverable data that’s been backed up in an encrypted offsite repository, before the unfortunate event of ransomware occurs.
Want to read more about what organizations can do immediately to ensure operational stability with recoverable back-ups? Get more business details on offsite backups to the cloud here.