As ransomware threats mount, it’s time for coordinated tactics
Cybercriminals have been able to act with impunity and without sufficient consequences, said experts at the recent RSA Conference 2021.
Ransomware attacks have become economically burdensome but also increasingly disruptive to basic services, such as health care and education. As the targets for attacks have increased given digitization, the economic and social impact has also grown exponentially.
The average ransom paid for organizations increased from $115,000 in 2019 to $312,000 in 2020, a 171% year-over-year increase, according to a 2021 report from Palo Alto Networks. Additionally, the highest ransom paid by an organization doubled from 2019 to 2020, from $5 million to $10 million.
Set the economic impact against the disruption of basic services, such as health care, banking and education, and ransomware has become a scourge on society, said experts at the recent RSA Conference 2021.
“Ransomware has gone from an economic nuisance to a national threat,” said Michael Daniel, president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance. While in 2013 malicious actors targeted individual servers or computers and garnered about $150 per attack, today, ransomware threats cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and may target hospitals, school systems or other public infrastructure systems that are part of the fabric of society.
These threats are “not just an economic burden on society and imposing a public health and safety threat but also a national security threat,” Daniel said.
Further, paying up hasn’t paid off, according to the Palo Alto Networks report.
Fewer than one in 10 (8%) of organizations retrieved all encrypted files after paying to get their data. In fact, on average, organizations that paid the ransom got back only 65% of their data, with .
Stopping Ransomware Threats Requires Partnership
According to the panel, ransomware attacks have become increasingly profitable but also turnkey and commoditized for attackers. That’s party because ransomware’s victims haven’t developed an appropriately powerful response to combat it.
Experts agreed that thwarting ransomware attacks will require coordination among public-sector organizations, such as the FBI and the Department of Defense, and private companies.
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