Ransomware attacks have been more common in recent years – cybersecurity analysts have recorded a 105% increase in attacks between 2020 and 2021. However, the number of attacks decreased by 23% between 2021 and 2022.
This does not mean that criminals have stopped using ransomware. Instead, they are more targeted with their attacks, choosing to hit high-value companies rather than individual users.
Ransomware attacks are getting more expensive
By precisely identifying their targets, hackers are more confident in obtaining higher ransom amounts from their victims. As a result, the average ransom demand increased from $115,000 in 2019 to $570,000 in 2021.
Criminals choose high-value targets like Royal Mail or the Costa Rican government because they know these organizations cannot operate without their IT systems. The LockBit hacker behind the Royal Mail attack has demanded a $80 million ransom – the equivalent of 0.5% of the company’s annual revenue. Costa Rica found itself demanding a $10 million ransom. Hackers know that victims of large corporations are able to pay much more than ordinary citizens when it comes to recovering their data.
There has also been a change in the strategy of ransomware attacks. Victims are still expected to pay for the decryption key to get their data back. However, hackers then demand a second payment by threatening to expose sensitive data stolen during infection. This “double extortion” model has the potential to double the value of the attack – and greatly increase the cost to victims.
Ransomware can still affect individuals
It is clear that criminals choose to target well-funded companies – does this mean that citizens are now safe from attack? Unfortunately no.
The most significant issue with malware is how it can spread automatically from one system to another. It is entirely possible for a malware infection to “escape” from the original target and start infecting other computers around the world.
The notorious notPetya ransomware attack originally targeted the Ukrainian industry – but quickly spread around the world. Thousands of people, including private citizens, have been denied access to their computers until cybersecurity experts can develop a solution. However, the global cost of the attack ran into tens of millions of dollars – and a lot of frustration and heartbreak for the people who lost their data.
Therefore, although ransomware attacks are becoming less frequent, everyone is still at risk of infection. This is why everyone should have an effective and proactive anti-malware tool. Get a free trial of Panda Dome today to protect yourself and your computer today.