THE FULL EXTENT OF CYBERCRIME
Some say that cybercrime has peaked and that IT security specialists have finally got the better of hackers and hacking. A very foolish notion, indeed. Recently, McAfee revealed that the global cost of cybercrime topped $1 trillion, approximately £0.72 trillion, in 2020, an increase of about 50% from 2018. That’s more money than the GDP of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, or South Africa. And cybercrime, in the form of ransomware, is also on an exponential trajectory.
WHAT EXACTLY IS RANSOMWARE?
For those not in the IT and cybercrime know, ransomware is a form of malware that uses encryption to hold a victim’s information to ransom. Put simply, a piece of malicious code gets access to a computer or IT network and encrypts critical data so that files, databases and applications cannot be accessed. To regain access, you need to pay the ransom – for individuals, this may be a few hundred pounds but for businesses, the demand could be in the millions or tens of millions. This year, for example, an attack on Taiwan-based PC manufacturer Acer resulted in the highest ransom demand ever: $50 million. A spokesperson from Acer said:
“Companies like us are constantly under attack, and we have reported recent abnormal situations observed to the relevant law enforcement and data protection authorities in multiple countries.”
While it is uncertain whether Acer paid the ransom or not, in all likelihood it did. Most victims tend to put on a brave face in the event of a data breach and claim that they ‘will not negotiate with terrorists.’ Nevertheless, the fact remains that all companies and individuals need their data back. Without it, they cannot go to work.
HERE’S THE IRONY
You would imagine that cybersecurity providers are immune from cybercrime in all its forms, including ransomware. Think again. ExaGrid, an American disk-based backup hardware company that was founded in 2002, found itself a victim of a ransomware attack this year. On May 4, the Conti ransomware group breached the ExaGrid corporate network, stealing critical data. Online confidential communications were discovered that revealed that ExaGrid paid a ransom of approximately $2.6 million in order to reclaim access to encrypted data, although the original demand was over $7 million. Just over a month earlier, one of the largest insurers in the United States, Chicago-based CNA Financial, paid hackers $40 million in late March to regain control of its network after a ransomware attack according to Bloomberg.
STATE OF RANSOMWARE 2021
The Sophos ‘State of Ransomware 2021’ global survey reveals these ugly truths:
- The average cost of recovering from a ransomware attack is now 10 times the size of the ransom payment.
- The average ransom paid was $170,404 with 10 organizations of those surveyed paid ransoms of $1 million or more.
- The number of organizations that paid the ransom increased from 26% in 2020 to 32% in 2021, although fewer than one in 10 (8%) managed to get back all of their data.
WORRIED ABOUT CYBERCRIME?
Are you worried about cybercrime and the potential devastation of a ransomware attack on your data and finances? Don’t be. With several IT qualifications, more than 20 years of experience in many IT functions, I am a recognised expert in risk mitigation and cybersecurity. Contact me today for an unprecedented solution to ongoing cybercrime.