Ransomware payments hit new highs as Dark Web leaks increase

Ransomware payments hit new highs as Dark Web leaks increase

 According to a Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 study, ransomware payments will reach new highs in 2021 as cybercriminals increasingly turn to Dark Web leak sites to pressure victims into paying by threatening to leak sensitive data.

According to the report, the average ransom demand in cases handled by Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 security consultants increased 144 percent in 2021 to $2.2 million, while the average payout increased 78 percent to $541,010.

"In 2021, ransomware attacks disrupted everyday activities that people all over the world take for granted, such as buying groceries, filling up our cars with gas, and dialing a phone number." "In the event of an emergency, dial 911 and seek medical attention," says Jen Miller-Osborn, Deputy Director, Unit 42 Threat Intelligence.

Globally, the Conti ransomware group was in charge of the majority of activity, accounting for more than one-fifth of all cases handled by Unit 42 consultants in 2021. REvil, also known as Sodinokibi, came in second place with 7.1 percent, followed by Hello Kitty and Phobos (4.8 percent each). Conti also revealed the identities of 511 organizations on his Dark Web leak site, the most of any group. Lockbit2.0 (28 percent) and Conti (11 percent) were the most active ransomware groups in Asia-Pacific.

Hong Kong ranks 10th in Asia-Pacific for the number of ransomware attacks, with threat actors targeting hospitals and professional organizations. Each attack jeopardizes private data as well as the operation of critical citizen services.

The report details how the cyber extortion ecosystem expanded in 2021, with the emergence of 35 new ransomware gangs. It demonstrates how criminal organizations have used windfall profits to develop tools that are easier to use in attacks that increasingly rely on zero-day vulnerabilities.

According to Unit 42's analysis, the number of victims whose data was posted on leak sites increased by 85 percent in 2021 to 2,566 organizations. The Americas account for 60% of leak site victims, followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (31%), and Asia-Pacific (9%). Professional and legal services, construction, wholesale and retail trade, health care, and manufacturing were the hardest hit industries.

Palo Alto Networks is a global cybersecurity specialist that uses technology to transform the way people and organizations work to help shape a cloud-centric future.

"Our mission is to be the preferred cybersecurity partner, protecting our digital way of life." "Through continuous innovation that captures the latest advances in artificial intelligence, analytics, automation, and orchestration, we help solve the world's greatest security challenges," the company says.

"We are at the forefront of protecting tens of thousands of organizations across clouds, networks, and mobile devices by providing an integrated platform and empowering a growing ecosystem of partners." -he.

"Our vision is to live in a world where each day is safer and more secure than the last."

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