Compared to the same period last year, ransomware attacks for the first half of 2021 increased by over 93%. The true costs of malware attacks go beyond the ransom, costing some companies tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in remediation costs.
According toComputerWeekly.com, cyber attacks broke records last year with a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks. Compared to the previous year, the ransomware attacks for the first half of 2021 increased by over 93%.IBM gives us a deeper look at the impact of data breaches with its extensive report, which covered 537 breaches. The report revealed that 2021 hit record-breaking numbers, with data breaches costing USD 4.24 million.
Research covering the first half of 2021 revealed at least1,097 ransomware attacks, with the US being the most targeted country. The US represented 54.9% of ransomware victims across 18 different industries and 66 countries. The cyberattacks resulted in significant data breaches and data leakage. And with ransomware attacks on the rise, experts predict that thecollective ransom will cost victims $265 billion by 2031.
Ransomware attacks continue to evolve, but the most common way company computers get infected is through malicious emails. Seemingly legitimate emails typically contain a link or attachment that, once opened, will download and install the malware. The malware encrypts files, blocking the user’s access to their data until they pay a ransom. Even the scare tactics to get victims to pay the ransom vary, ranging from locking the screen to being bombarded with pop-up messages to pay up. There’s even one with a countdown timer.
The True Costs of Ransomware Attacks
In 2019, the average cost incurred by a company following a ransomware attack was over $761,000. Just a year later, that figure spiked, almost doubling to reach $1.85 million. Companies victimized by a ransomware attack are spending over $2 million on remediation costs in the US alone. But what makes remediation costs that high?
When cybercriminals successfully pull off a ransomware attack, the first thing the company needs to pay is the ransom. A report on ransomware found that the average ransomware payment in 2020 was $170,404. However, the range for ransoms is vast, with some paying as little as $10,000 and others paying in the millions.
Whatever the company pays in ransom, it’s only a fraction of the total remediation costs they ultimately incur. Therefore, the costs of ransomware cannot be quantified in the ransom amount alone. A lost reputation can lead to business and revenue loss, which takes time to recover from. To ensure there is less risk of a repeat attack, the organization will invest in strengthening its cybersecurity defenses. Compromised devices may need to be replaced. Employees may need to be pulled out to undergo training to help prevent and respond to attacks better. Downtime and lost people hours add up.
The ransomware attack may also lead to potential legal penalties. The attack may have been a result of weak defenses and not complying with cybersecurity laws and regulations. Victims of the data breach may sue the company, adding legal fees and settlements to the remediation bill.
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