Ransomware – Increasingly Hitting Businesses

Ransomware – Increasingly Hitting Businesses


Ransomware hits both individuals and businesses, but businesses are being targeted more than ever, and end up paying significantly higher ransoms—often tens of thousands of dollars.

This week, Los Angeles Valley College disclosed that it paid $28,000 in ransom to hackers who had used malicious software to commandeer a number of their computer systems.

While ransomware has generally focused on individuals, we are now seeing a trend of more sophisticated attacks that are targeting businesses. This shift to corporations is not really a surprise. Business documents are much more valuable than personal documents, and companies can afford to pay higher ransoms than individuals. The average ransom for an individual is around $300 dollars—significantly lower than the $28,000 paid by Los Angeles Valley College.

Most Businesses Are Willing to Pay Ransom

IBM recently asked 600 U.S. business leaders what they would do if they faced a significant ransomware attack. It was surprising that a number of the companies had already experienced this situation. A full 70 percent of the businesses that had been ransomed had in fact paid the criminals in order to recover their data and systems. Around 50 percent of those that paid off their attackers had shelled out more than $10,000 dollars. Approximately 20 percent of them had paid more than $40,000 dollars. Other key takeaways from the study include:

  • Half of the companies surveyed had experienced a ransomware attack
  • Nearly 60 percent of the executives surveyed indicated they would pay a ransom to recover their systems and data
  • Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said they would pay between $20,000 and $50,000 dollars

Ransomware Not Going Away Anytime Soon

Ransomware events quadrupled in 2016, with an average of 4,000 attacks occurring every day. More and more of them are targeting businesses. Unfortunately, we expect this trend to continue in 2017 and beyond.

Click here to learn more about Lastline’s protection from ransomware and other types of advanced malware.

Brian Laing

Brian Laing

For more than 20 years, Brian Laing has shared his strategic business vision and technical leadership with a range of start-ups and established companies in various executive level roles. The author of “APT for Dummies,” he was previously vice president of AhnLab, where he directed the US operations of the internationally known security and software leader. Brian previously founded Hive Media where he served as CEO. He co-founded RedSeal Systems, where he conceived the overall design and features of the product and was granted two patents related to network security. He was also founder and CEO of self-funded Blade Software, who released the industry’s first commercial IPS/FW testing tool.
Brian Laing