The highest attempted ransom demand during 2020 stood at $30 million – double the previous highest attempted demand of $15 million in previous years, reports ZDNet. With the continued success of ransomware attacks – and the emergence of new variants of ransomware and easy-to-use ransomware-as-a-service schemes – it’s unlikely that the highest amount ever demanded wouldn’t increase.
“Organizations around the world 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, vice president of public sector at Palo Alto Networks.
As per an analysis by cybersecurity researchers at Palo Alto Networks, ransomware attacks, the average ransom paid in exchange for a decryption key to unlock encrypted networks rose from $115,123 in 2019 to $312,493 in 2020.
Ransomware remains an effective tool for cybercriminals because most organisations are poorly equipped to deal with the threat, which is why most victims give in to extortion demands and pay a Bitcoin ransom in the hope they’ll get the decryption key required to restore their network.
Phishing emails remain a common means of cyber criminals infiltrating networks, so researchers recommend that employees receive training to identify threats.
As per ZDNet, experts also recommend multi-factor authentication to protect against brute force attacks.
Notably, Cyberpunk 2077 got delayed recently after the team behind it got locked out of their own workstations for two weeks due to a ransomware attack.