Palo Alto Networks Ransomware Threat Report: Ransom Payments Hit Record High in 2021

The latest ransomware threat report recently released by cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks pointed out that more and more cybercriminals are using dark web “decryption sites” to threaten victims to pay ransoms and pay ransomware ransoms on the grounds of publishing sensitive information on the dark web. Reach new highs in 2021.

According to the 2022 Ransomware Threat Report, published by the Unit 42 Threat Intelligence Group, ransom payments will grow by an average of 144% to $2.2 million in 2021, and the average ransom payment will also increase by 78% to $541,010, while the world’s worst-hit industries include Professional and legal services, construction, wholesale and retail, medical, and manufacturing.

Jen Miller-Osborn, Deputy Director of Threat Intelligence at Unit 42, said Threatware attacks in 2021 impacted everyday activities people around the world were accustomed to, from buying groceries and gas to emergency calls to 119 for medical care.

You Huisheng, general manager of Palo Alto Networks Taiwan, said the number of threat software attacks in Taiwan has increased significantly over the past year. Attackers are becoming more and more creative, and ransomware as a service also greatly reduces the technical threshold for attacks.

The Conti ransomware group accounted for the largest ransomware campaign, with Unit 42 personnel linked to the group in more than 1 in 5 of the 42 attacks handled in 2021. Second place REvil (aka Sodinokibi) was at 7.1%, followed by Hello Kitty and Phobos (4.8% each). Conti also posted the names of 511 organizations on the dark web, the highest ranking.

The report also describes the growth of the online ransomware ecosystem in 2021, including the emergence of 35 new ransomware groups. The report depicts how criminal enterprises use ill-gotten gains to craft easy-to-use tools to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities.

The report shows that the number of victimized institutions whose data is posted on declassified websites will grow by 85% to 2,566 in 2021. 60% of victims of decrypted websites were in the Americas, followed by EMEA (31%), followed by Asia Pacific (9%).

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