Ransomware attacks – a malicious attack where a criminal encrypts, typically, sensitive files, then threatens to publish them unless a demanded ransom is paid – reached record-highs in 2020 as employees shifted to remote work, in turn creating more attack vectors for hackers.
Atlas VPN analysis found that average ransom payouts increased by 178% in Q3 2020 compared to Q4 2019.
“The increase in average ransomware payout shows that hackers are successful in bigger-scale attacks or intrude into databases that contain extremely sensitive data, such as credit card details,” says Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN.
Cybercriminals expect larger payouts when they target bigger companies, steal more data, or the information stolen is extremely sensitive. For example, instead of stealing user email addresses, hackers now target financial details, personal information like social security numbers (SSNs), and police reports.
In the 4th quarter of 2019, the average ransom payout reached $84 000, while in the 3rd quarter of 2020, the number skyrocketed to nearly $234 000. And the number of ransomware attacks nearly doubled in 2020.
Obviously, the fact that attacks are successful and victims pay out the ransom only encourages cybercriminals to continue these schemes. Not only is the average ransom payout increasing rapidly, but the frequency of attacks is reaching record highs, the company says.
There were 78,36-million ransomware attacks detected in Q3 of 2020, while in Q3 2019, the number stood at 40,95-million. This, says Atlas VPN, constitutes a 91% jump in ransomware attacks in one year.