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Ransomware accounts for 81% of all financially motivated cyberattacks in 2020

Ransomware is a type of malicious malware used by cybercriminals to encrypt sensitive information that can be regained if a ransom is paid. Last year’s data reveals that this type of attack is one of the cybercriminals’ favorite methods.

The Atlas VPN team found that ransomware made up a whopping 81% of all financially motivated cyberattacks in 2020. The remaining 19% include point-of-sale intrusions, e-commerce attacks, business email compromise, and cryptocurrency mining.

As ransomware technology has developed over the last thirty years since its creation in 1989, its threat levels have grown too. In 2020, ransomware attacks caused greater financial damage per breach than average malicious attacks.

An average malicious attack cost victims $4.27 million per assault. In the meantime, ransomware attacks cost 4% more — $4.44 million per breach.

The top 5 biggest ransomware attack payouts of 2020

The year 2020 saw a fair share of ransomware attacks that affected companies and organizations worldwide.

One of the most significant ransomware attacks in 2020 was the Garmin breach. Garmin, an American multinational technology company, is believed to have paid $10 million to its hackers. Garmin was targeted by WastedLocker, ransomware credited to a Russia-based cybercriminal group called Evil Corp.

The next biggest ransom payout to cybercriminals in 2020 belongs to a business travel management company CWT Global. Cybercriminals behind the attack used Ragnar Locker and collected a payment of $4.5 million.

Travelex, a British foreign exchange firm, rounds out the top three companies in this list. The Sodinokibi gang, also known as REvil, is said to be responsible for the attack. Travelex paid the criminal group $2.3 million.

Other organizations that paid a significant ransom to cybercriminals last year include the University of California San Francisco ($1.14 million), as well as Communications and Power Industries ($0.5 million).

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on ransomware attack trends:

“It is hard to predict whether this year’s ransomware attack levels will surpass the ones of 2020. However, as global companies continue to fall into the traps of ransomware attacks, it is safe to say they are not going anywhere.”