Sophos, a UK-based cybersecurity vendor, has released a new market research report detailing that 66% of surveyed organizations were hit with ransomware in 2021, up from 37% in 2020. The average ransom paid by organizations increased nearly fivefold to $812,360, with a threefold increase in the proportion of organizations paying ransoms of $1 million or more. Forty-six percent of the organizations that had data encrypted paid the ransom to get their data back, even if they had other means of data recovery, such as backups.
The State of Ransomware 2022 report summarizes the impact of ransomware on 5,600 mid-sized organizations in 31 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with 965 sharing details of ransomware payments.
“Alongside the escalating payments, the survey shows that the proportion of victims paying up also continues to increase, even when they may have other options available,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos. “There could be several reasons for this, including incomplete backups or the desire to prevent stolen data from appearing on a public leak site. In the aftermath of a ransomware attack there is often intense pressure to get back up and running as soon as possible. Restoring encrypted data using backups can be a difficult and time-consuming process, so it can be tempting to think that paying a ransom for a decryption key is a faster option. It’s also an option fraught with risk. Organizations don’t know what the attackers might have done, such as adding backdoors, copying passwords and more. If organizations don’t thoroughly clean up the recovered data, they’ll end up with all that potentially toxic material in their network and potentially exposed to a repeat attack.”
In 2021, 11% of organizations said they paid ransoms of $1 million or more, up from 4% in 2020, while the percentage of organizations paying less than $10,000 dropped to 21% from 34% in 2020.
In 2021, 46% of organizations that had data encrypted in a ransomware attack paid the ransom. Twenty-six percent of organizations that were able to restore encrypted data using backups in 2021 also paid the ransom.
The average cost to recover from ransomware attacks in 2021 was $1.4 million. It took on average one month to recover from the damage and disruption. Ninety percent of organizations said the attack had impacted their ability to operate, and 86% of private sector victims said they had lost business and/or revenue because of the attack.
More than 80% of mid-sized organizations had cyber insurance that covers them in the event of a ransomware attack – and, in 98% of incidents, the insurer paid some or all the costs incurred (with 40% overall covering the ransom payment).
The findings underscore the need for channel partners to help clients defend against such threats. It also suggests that consultation on cyber insurance can be an important value-add, moving forward.