The report, Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation, conducted by the Herjavec Group security firm, reveals that as the number of ransomware attacks has risen significantly recently, the cost of damages due to ransomware cybercrime is expected to reach $1 billion this year.
The report emphasizes on the fact that anyone (an individual or an organization) who has decided to pay the ransom demanded has contributed to the huge increase of this dangerous threat. It also notes that law is no exception as police departments have also fallen victims to ransomware infections and had to pay up in order to recover their locked data.
For the past 2015, it is estimated that cybercriminals gained $24 million from victims worldwide by encrypting their files. However, the Herjavec Group reveals that for Q1 of 2016 alone, the amount paid by victims came to a total of $209 million. If this trend continues, by the end of 2016 the total cost of ransomware attacks will reach $1 billion.
Since the ransomware industry is considered a huge moneymaker and the fact that such attacks are not that difficult to carry out, researchers are certain that crooks will continue using it in the future. Not only that, but they will also increase deploying it and will search bigger and bigger targets so they can get more money.
The Herjavec Group, like others have done, have lined the rise of the cryptographic Bitcoin digital currency to the rise of ransomware.
“The rise of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies has made it possible, safe, and easy, to demand and receive payments and transfer money anonymously. This has had a dramatic impact on the number and type of cybercrime opportunities. It really is the engine of cybercrime, and it will continue to enable and embolden the criminals.” – said the Vice President of Remediation Services at Herjavec Group, Matt Anthony.
The report states that, since nowadays any wannabe criminal can get their hands on a ransomware, even if they lack any basic hacking skills, the threat will continue to grow. Respectively, more and more victims would be extorted to pay the ransom and the cybercrime total costs would jump in the next five years. For 2015, the overall annual cost of global cybercrime was estimated to $3 trillion and it is expected to double to $6 trillion by 2021.
Moreover, cybercrime is not only about money loss, but also lost productivity, Damage and destruction of data, reputation harm, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, theft and deletion of hacked data and systems, etc.