Ransomware Costs Soar in 4th Quarter of 2019

Image Source: Coveware

According to security research firm Coveware the costs of ransomware doubled in the last quarter of 2019. Certainly not good news and as the graph above shows the trend is pointing upward indicating that 2020 ransomware attacks are likely to be the most expensive yet.

Double Drivers

The 104% increase in average ransom value from $41,198 to $84,116 reflects a shift in ransomware targets as well as ransomware diversity. Targets are getting larger, have more to lose and much deeper pockets to pay from while some ransomware variants such as Ryuk and Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) Sodinokibi are specifically designed to leverage their impact by a variety of insidious means. For example, at least one Sodinokibi affiliate has developed expertise in exploiting tools used by IT manage service providers (MSPs) which allows one successful attack to be propagated across many companies.

A New Ransom Twist – Data Exposed!

While most ransomware purveyors remain happy to send a decryption key and move along to the next victim after getting paid, or simply move along if the victim declines to pay, at least 3 ransomware campaigns are increasing their odds of receiving payment by threatening to release the recalcitrant victim’s data if payment is not received.

Some Sodinokibi and Maze victims have already had their data publicly exposed after refusing to pay ransoms and BitPyLocker victims have been threatened with public disclosure.

Time and Money

The dollar value of ransoms is not the only thing that is increasing. The amount of downtime jumped roughly 30% in Q4 2019, increasing from an average of 12.1 to 16.2 days. For many victims it is the days to recovery that really drive incident costs skyward as operations grind to a halt.

Image Source: Coveware

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