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Cybercriminals Favour Financially Motivated Ransomware Attacks To Hit Firms for $4.44million

Ransomware made up a massive 81 per cent of all financially motivated cyberattacks in 2020 with the average cost of a breach whacking victims for $4.44million.

This type of attack, which involves hackers seizing control of corporate data systems before demanding money to give back access to the systems, caused greater financial damage per breach than average malicious attacks last year.

An average malicious attack cost victims $4.27million per assault. While, ransomware attacks cost four per cent more at $4.44million per breach.

According to a report by virtual private network app Atlas VPN, ransomware accounted for four-fifths of all financially motivated cyberattacks last year. The remaining 19 per cent included point-of-sale intrusions, e-commerce attacks, business email compromise, and cryptocurrency mining.

One of the most significant ransomware attacks in 2020 was the breach of US GPS and fitness-tracker company Garmin. Hackers demanded $10million to get its systems back online.

US travel management firm CWT also fell victim to a ransomware attack. Hackers encrypted computer files and rendered them unusable until a payment of $4.5million was made. While, Travelex, the UK-based foreign currency exchange, also reportedly paid a ransomware gang $2.3million to regain access to its data in 2020.

Other organisations that reportedly paid a significant ransom to cybercriminals last year include the University of California San Francisco, as well as Communications and Power Industries, says Atlas VPN.

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, said: “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.”

Atlas VPN also reports that not only is the average ransom payout increasing rapidly, but the frequency of attacks is reaching record highs. There were 78.36 million ransomware attacks detected in Q3 of 2020. While in Q3 2019, the number stood at 40.95 million – a 91 per cent jump.


  • Claire is an experienced editor and writer with 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. As a tech journalist, Claire has covered every subject possible over the years, from the launch of broadband and next generation mobile networks to the arrival of the metaverse and Web3.

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