The global cost of cyberattacks continues to rise as criminals become more adept at exploiting weak points in network defenses and cloud infrastructure, and ransomware is a big reason why.
This year, that global price tag of ransomware attacks is expected to reach $20 billion, which is already 57 times more than the predicted ransomware damages in 2015, according to cybersecurity research group Cybersecurity Ventures.
However, the group’s report, released earlier this month, finds that the financial toll of ransomware will continue to worsen for at least the next decade until it reaches a whopping $265 billion in 2031. That figure is based on year-over-year growth in ransomware costs of 30% for the next 10 years.
In addition to ransom payouts, those costs include damage and destruction of data, downtime, lost productivity, business disruption, investigation, data recovery, reputational harm and employee training.
The group also predicts that a new ransomware attack will happen every two seconds as operators refine malware payloads and change their tactics. That rate is up from the current of one attack every 11 seconds.
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According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of ransomware will jump to $42 billion in 2024, $71.5 billion in 2026, $157 billion in 2028 and finally reach $265 billon in 2031.
The report raises concerns about the proliferation of IoT devices that are powering technology that civilization depends on, like industrial sensors, healthcare monitors, transportation, distribution and infrastructure.
While both commendable and necessary, efforts to fight ransomware by finding and closing code loopholes will continue to be a challenge over the next decade. Automated code-scanning tools offer some assistance, but much of today’s vulnerability detection still requires human ingenuity.
While ransomware authors will continue to tweak the structure and methodologies used by their malicious code, over the next decade it’s likely that ransomware will take on a completely new role as a cyber weapon used within a continuously shifting geopolitical climate.
Ransomware has quickly become an internet pandemic as operators shift their focus to critical industries like transportation and infrastructure. Their tactics are also evolving, from simply holding data hostage to threatening to steal and release a victim’s data if a ransom isn’t paid.
This situation demands the full attention of the entire IT industry, including you.