Lots of attacks mean lots of financial damage to victims. Indeed, the average cost of downtime associated with ransomware incidents rose a whopping 94% between 2019 and 2020, from $141,000 to $274,200, according to Datto.
On the other hand, MSPs in Datto’s study have not seen ransoms climb as well. In fact, the average ransom actually declined a touch since last year from $5,900 to $5,600.
That’s interesting, because ransomware payouts are up sharply this year, according to Sophos. Citing data from ransomware incident response vendor Coveware, the security vendor says in its 2021 Threat Report that average ransoms have jumped from a little over $84,000 in the last quarter of 2019 to a little under $234,000 in the third quarter of 2020.
That those numbers are not only way up versus down a little but also way bigger than Datto’s figures reflects the fact that Datto’s study looks solely at SMBs while the Sophos data covers big businesses too. Attackers, it seems, are training more of their attention on larger, wealthier targets.
“If you think of ransomware like a ‘business’ that needs to respond to changing market conditions, it makes sense for those attackers to focus on more stable sources of revenue, like larger enterprises, during an economic downturn,” says Chief Information Security Officer Ryan Weeks in Datto’s report. “Enterprises both represent a larger ‘return on investment’ to hackers and are more resilient to fluctuations in the economy. Ransomware is a numbers game, and larger companies simply represent a better target in tough economic times.”
According to Sophos, meanwhile, cyberthieves have come up with an ingenious way to increase the likelihood that a ransomware victim pays up: instead of just encrypting data, they’re increasingly exfiltrating a copy of it too.
“Even if the target of the attack has perfectly recoverable backups of their data, they may still be forced to pay in the hopes the ransomware criminals don’t publish their internal information to the world,” the Sophos study says.
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