Ransomware is Big Business. Here’s Why

Updated 02/07/2022

Cybersecurity | News

In 2016 we reported that Cryptolocker, the most prolific ransomware variant at the time, generated $325 million for the cybercriminals within 100 days of launch, and experts projected that a billion dollars will be paid in 2016 due to ransomware infections. 

Fast forward to today and the costs of ransomware by 2031 are projected to be $265 billion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. 

You may have heard that the pandemic was the main culprit for the explosive growth in ransomware attacks. 

While this is true, there are additional reasons beyond the pandemic which should be addressed.  

When you understand where the threats are coming from, then you have a better chance of protecting your organization, data, and reputation.  

Five BIG reasons why the ransomware business is booming (and it’s not just about the pandemic): 

1. Organized crime is the #1 threat actor. Most people are unaware that there are well funded and well managed criminal syndicates behind the majority of cyberattacks. According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of breaches are attributed to organized crime.  

2. Almost anyone can learn how to deploy ransomware. Cyber gangs are using Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) and lucrative profit-sharing models to attract cyber criminals (i.e. employees). This strategic model encourages non-technical people to make easy money. 

3. More profits for the cyber-gangs. In 2016 we were seeing an increase in payments from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Currently, the average ransomware payment in 2021 was $570,000 (citation). The largest single payment to date was $40 million (citation). 

4. Social engineering and spear phishing emails are designed to by-pass your anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall. In 2021, 85% percent of breaches involved a human element (citation).  Long gone are the days when an employee would receive a message from a Nigerian Prince. Now cyber criminals spend time getting to know you, your employees, and your vendors then send cleverly disguised emails.  

5. A new form of ransomware, extortion-ware, almost guarantees you’ll pay. Criminals can be in your corporate network for almost a year before being discovered (citation). Unless you have network monitoring tools, which includes actively monitoring and reviewing the logs from your devices, you would not know that someone was lurking around in your network. Once there, the criminals take your sensitive data.  

They use this data as “insurance,” and threaten to put your data on a public facing website unless you pay the ransom. According to AIG, there’s been an 150% increase in ransom and extortion claim notifications since 2018. ( (Please note there could be legal consequences for payment of ransom citation). 


According to the CFO.com article “How to Mitigate the Threat of Ransomware,” you should control risk by incorporating some of the following practices: 

  1. Train and educate personnel on an ongoing basis. 
  1. Specifically address and plan for a ransomware in the business’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans. 
  1. Engage a third-party vendor to assess your organizations systems and procedures. 

Want to learn more? We can help train your employees to spot cyber threats and protect your company. Call us today.