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Average Ransomware Payment Declined by 38% in Second Quarter of 2021

A report from ransomware response firm Coveware showed a 38% decrease in the average amount of money that businesses paid to criminals as a result of ransomware extortion this quarter. Coveware reported the average ransomware payment for the first quarter of 2021 was $220,298, which was a 43% increase from the last quarter of 2020. The report suggests the decrease to be a result of increased pressure the US government has put on ransomware threat actors. Following three major ransomware attacks on US critical infrastructure, the US government has called for better legislation, increased law enforcement action and pressured world leaders to act against threat actors operating within their borders. The increased media coverage of such events has also caused private sector organizations to prioritize cybersecurity, to ensure they are not the next victim of an attack.

Analyst Notes

Even with the decreased average payment, ransomware still poses a serious threat to organizations. Organizations should also initiate proactive measures to ensure they are protected from ransomware. The US DHS website, stopransomware.gov, has links to resources that help organizations protect their systems from intrusions that lead to ransomware. To protect against ransomware attacks, organizations should regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline. Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides. Implement network segmentation. Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, secure location (i.e., hard drive, storage device, the cloud). Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as practical after they are released. Implement monitoring of security events on employee workstations and servers, with a 24/7 Security Operations Center to detect threats and respond quickly. Use multifactor authentication where possible. Use strong passwords and regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, implementing the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes. Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts. Focus on cyber security awareness and training. Regularly provide users with training on information security principles and techniques as well as overall emerging cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.

Average ransomware payment declined by 38% in second quarter of 2021, new Coveware report says