cyber attack

New Data Shows Sharp Rise in Ransomware Attacks, Payments Demanded From Hackers

Ransomware attacks hit at least over 200,000 organizations last year, and the average ransom demanded rose dramatically at the end of 2019.

The ransomware crisis will get worse before it gets better, according to several experts interviewed by The New York Times in a report containing new data on the amount of businesses and public sector organizations hit by the malware.

While many businesses quietly pay ransoms and never report the attack to authorities, cybersecurity firm Emisoft collected data in 2019 showing the widespread nature of the attacks. Last year, 205,280 organizations submitted files that had been hacked in a ransomware attack, a 41 percent increase from 2018, according to the Times.

The average payment demanded by hackers to release files back to their owners rose to $84,116 in the last quarter of the year, according to data from Coveware. That number hiked up to $190,946 in December, when ransomware attackers were said to demand millions from larger corporations.

But even this devastating data cannot paint the full picture of ransomware attacks, as many corporations attempt to hide that they were the victims of ransomware due to fears that they will earn media attention and negatively affect investor confidence.

In addition, cyber-insurance providers -- many of whom help their clients pay the ransoms rather than attempt to recover the files through backups -- are raising insurance rates in the wake of higher demands and more frequent attacks. Businesses often do not report the incidents to the FBI, which tallied only 1,493 reports in 2018.

Steven Chabinsky, a lawyer and former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber unit, told ProPublica that many businesses do not report because the FBI does not offer much assistance and can create another distraction in the middle of a crisis.

“Not that I’m saying corporate America is dishonest, but the last thing you want is a bunch of FBI agents crawling around your company,” Chabinsky added. “There is no benefit whatsoever of you reporting. There’s no incentive. And there’s clearly identifiable cost. It’s the cost, the disruption, the risk they talk to some employee and now you’re under investigation. There’s no upside.”

Security experts are also concerned about the rise in certain trends among attackers, including hackers releasing stolen files to the public in an effort to pressure or punish victims who have not paid the ransom. Federal authorities have struggled to address the attacks and their ramifications because the hackers largely operate outside of the U.S. using hard-to-track financial systems, most often Bitcoin.

In the meantime, one agency has taken action in an attempt to help businesses and organizations recover from the attacks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology released a set of free guidelines in January after it tested a variety of cybersecurity solutions in different IT environments to find out which methods were most effective in fighting ransomware.

Organizations can read the framework here and provide public comment on the report from now until Feb. 26.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    Perimeter Security Standards for Multi-Site Businesses

    When you run or own a business that has multiple locations, it is important to set clear perimeter security standards. By doing this, it allows you to assess and mitigate any potential threats or risks at each site or location efficiently and effectively. Read Now

  • Getting in Someone’s Face

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the tradeshow industry must have thought COVID-19 might wipe out face-to-face meetings. It sure seemed that way about three years ago. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • Live From ISC West 2024: Post-Show Recap

    ISC West 2024 is complete. And from start to finish, the entire conference was a huge success with almost 30,000 people in attendance. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West
  • ISC West 2024 is a Rousing Success

    The 2024 ISC West security tradeshow marked a pivotal moment in the industry, showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions to address evolving security challenges. Exhibitors left the event with a profound sense of satisfaction, as they witnessed a high level of engagement from attendees and forged valuable connections with potential clients and partners. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • ISC West

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation.

    Connect ONE®

    Connect ONE’s powerful cloud-hosted management platform provides the means to tailor lockdowns and emergency mass notifications throughout a facility – while simultaneously alerting occupants to hazards or next steps, like evacuation. 3

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3