Cyberattacks are getting more and more common nowadays. Ransomware is a recurring cyberattack where a cyber threat actor steals and locks a company’s data with encryption and will not release it until the victim pays the agreed ransom. These attacks have recently become more severe and regular. In the first half of 2020, ransoms have increased in value, being ramped up by 60%, with bitcoin used for most of these payments.
It’s not only the payment that has increased in 2020 but the severity of the attacks. Cybercriminals have increased demands and are now using ransomware to extort victims. One example of such an attack goes back to May 2020, when the hacking group Revil demanded $42 million from the former U.S. President, Donald Trump, threatening to release compromising information on him.
Ransomware attacks have been turning more destructive and dangerous. With Covid-19, cybercriminals intend to encrypt as much data of the corporate network as possible to ask for payments of higher value. A single attack could bring them hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of dollars, causing companies to lose money fast.
By the end of this year, according to a report by Emisoft, costs of ransomware could exceed USD 1.2 billion. In another report by Cybersecurity Ventures, we find out that cybercrime could inflict some serious economic damage of USD 6 trillion globally in 2021. Comparing this to a country’s typical GDP, we can conclude that cybercrime would be the third-largest world economy after the U.S and China, a rather scary view of this current issue.
Cybercrime is expected to grow by 15% every year for the next five years. By 2025, it will most likely reach USD 10.5 trillion, up from USD 3 trillion back in 2015.
Unfortunately, in history, cybercrimes portray the largest transfer of economic wealth, risking incentives for investments and innovation and costing companies billions. Although it may seem surprising, cybercrimes’ damage is much greater than the loss caused by natural disasters in a year. Even more surprising, if you combine all the global trade of major illegal drugs, cybercrime single-handled turns out more profitable.
Ultimately, companies need to be aware of this issue and prepare in advance for ransomware attacks that are unmistakably increasing. It’s smart to update your incident response plans to take into account ransomware accounts and not having to risk losing billions.