A review of 2021 8-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveals a more complete picture of the financial damage from ransomware.
The ransomware scourge reached unprecedented levels in 2021, with ransomware threat actors demanding, and in many cases receiving, ransom payments in the millions of dollars. The world’s largest meat processor, JBS, confirmed in June 2021 that it paid the equivalent of $11 million in ransom to respond to the criminal hack against its operations.
Colonial Pipeline paid $4.43 million to its ransomware attackers in May 2021, although in a subsequent operation, the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) seized $2.3 million of that amount. In May, backup appliance supplier ExaGrid paid a $2.6 million ransom to cybercriminals that targeted the company with Conti ransomware.
The actual costs of ransomware attacks, including lost revenue, can far eclipse the simple dollar amount of any ransom paid. For most private companies, the costs of ransomware attacks, and even the attacks themselves, can be hidden from view, which is one reason why mandatory ransom payment reports for all organizations became law last week.
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