It’s like the plot of a James Bond movie: Hackers take control of a global organization’s computer systems and threaten to destroy its records, steal its intellectual property, and drain its bank accounts unless a hefty ransom is deposited into an untraceable offshore bank account by the end of the day.
Except instead of Agent 007 suavely tracking down the anonymous would-be thieves and saving the organization from ruin, its leaders give in — and pay the ransom.
To a little-noticed but alarming degree, so-called “ransomware” attacks on governments, businesses, and other entities jumped last year. In all, they rose 41% from 2018 to 2019 to more than 205,000 globally, according to newly published data.
Every organization is vulnerable, regardless of size, geography, or industry. Although not all firms pay, the security firm Coveware estimates the average payout for those that did was about $85,000 during last year’s fourth quarter,