Ransomware is among the most common and persistent threats faced by organizations of all sizes. In 2019, the ransomware threat landscape worsened in several significant ways: (1) average demands increased more than tenfold; (2) all industry segments saw increases in attack frequency, with stark increases seen by education and government entities; and (3) several threat actor groups began exfiltrating sensitive data from victims as an additional means to extort a payment.
Increased Ransom Demands. In our 2019 report, we dedicated a quarter page to ransomware, with the average ransom paid for the matters we handled being $28,920 and the largest payment being $250,000. For the 2020 report, we dedicated a full page to the epidemic, with the average ransom paid for matters we handled jumping to $302,539 and the largest payment being $5.6 million. Questions had arisen in years past as to why ransomware demands seemed relatively low. By deploying ransomware, the threat actors were crippling a company’s ability to function but would often settle for a five-figure ransom while the victims were losing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a day due to the business interruption. Whatever the reasons, threat actors changed their approach, and 2019 was the year they were ready to increase the stakes. 2020 has only seen these trends continue.