The cost of an average ransomware attack has more than doubled in a year, increasing from $761,106 in 2020 to $1.85 million in 2021. According to “The State of Ransomware 2021” report from Sophos, the average ransom paid is $170,404.
While the number of organizations that experienced a ransomware attack fell from 51% of respondents surveyed in 2020 to 37% in 2021, and fewer organizations suffered data encryption as the result of a significant attack (54% in 2021 compared to 73% in 2020), the new survey results reveal worrying upward trends, particularly in terms of the impact of a ransomware attack.
“The apparent decline in the number of organizations being hit by ransomware is good news, but it is tempered by the fact that this is likely to reflect, at least in part, changes in attacker behaviours,” says Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos.
“We’ve seen attackers move from larger scale, generic, automated attacks to more targeted attacks that include human hands-on-keyboard hacking. While the overall number of attacks is lower, as a result, our experience shows that the potential for damage from these more advanced and complex targeted attacks is much higher. Such attacks are also harder to recover from, and we see this reflected in the survey in the doubling of overall remediation costs.”
While the average ransom paid was $170,404, $3.2 million was the highest paid out of those surveyed.
“The findings confirm the brutal truth that when it comes to ransomware, it doesn’t pay to pay. Despite more organizations opting to pay a ransom, only a tiny minority of those who paid got back all their data,” says Wisniewski.
“This could be in part because using decryption keys to recover information can be complicated. What’s more, there’s no guarantee of success. For instance, as we saw recently with DearCry and Black Kingdom ransomware, attacks launched with low quality or hastily compiled code and techniques can make data recovery difficult, if not impossible.”
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