Ransomware Payments Rose 70

Ransomware Payments Rose 70 Percent in 2021: Cybersecurity Trends

According to a recent report, ransomware payments rose 70 percent in 2021. Yet another indication how big a cyber threat that ransomware has become.

As reported by Sharon Nelson in her excellent Ride the Lightning blog (Ransomware Payments Up 70% in 2021: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Last Year), the Washington Post reported that ransomware victims paid over $600 million in ransom payments in 2021 according to the firm Chainalysis, a 70 percent increase over 2020. And there’s been limited progress on some big goals, such as making it harder to covertly transfer ransoms using cryptocurrency.

“Ransomware continues to hammer on health care, continues to hammer on education and continues to hammer on industry — and these [hackers], in many different ways, continue to act with impunity,” Philip Reiner, a co-chair of the Ransomware Task Force and CEO of the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), said.

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If the fact that ransomware payments rose 70 percent in 2021 is the Bad (or the Ugly), the Good is that the Ransomware Task Force reports that Justice Department prosecutors have ramped up legal charges against ransomware hackers and operations to get back cryptocurrency paid as ransoms. The department recovered more than $8 million connected to ransoms from attacks on Colonial Pipeline and the IT service firm Kaseya.

Even more Good is that Congress has greatly increased funding for counter-ransomware work at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and elsewhere in government.

The task force will focus on some big priorities in the coming year.

One project focuses on making it easier for small and medium businesses to get up-to-date information about cyberthreats — and to share information about threats they’re facing with the government.

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Given that that ransomware payments rose 70 percent in 2021, we need all the focus on the issue we can get. We’ve seen enough Bad and Ugly when it comes to ransomware, time for more Good. Sharon’s article and the Post article have more of what’s being done to stem the rise.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised that ransomware payments are rising so dramatically? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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