Examining the Enormous Cost of Cyber Attacks in 2021

bitcoin and computer code representing cost of cyber attacks

In 2021, hackers continued to find new ways to exploit security weaknesses and vulnerabilities, demanding money for the return of confidential data and information. It’s helpful to understand the types of breaches that have recently occurred and the cost of cyberattacks. Most importantly, learn how to safeguard your organization from ransomware and other security compromises.

According to the Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the cost of cyber attacks has grown to an estimated $3.6 million per incident. The study also found that it takes on average 280 days to identify theft and respond to an attack.

While awareness of these events shows the importance of establishing and following cybersecurity policies and training, we are subject to an ever-changing cyber environment that needs constant attention.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that is designed to encrypt data, thereby denying a user or organization access to their files on their computers or servers. Once the malware has encrypted the files, the cybercriminal demands a ransom to be paid by bitcoin so it cannot be traced. The company then hopes that the decryption keys will be sent and will decrypt the unusable files.

Top 10 Ransomware and Cyber Attacks of 2021

  1. Colonial Pipeline – An American oil pipeline company based in Houston was infiltrated, disrupting gas supplies along the Southeast coast of the U.S. and causing chaos and panic for millions.
  2. Brenntag – A German chemical distribution company had 150GB of sensitive data stolen with a ransom demand of 4.4 million in Bitcoin.
  3. Acer – The computer giant had data stolen with a ransom of $50 million that threatened to exploit sensitive financial information of the company.
  4. JBS Foods – The largest meat processor in the world paid $11 million in Bitcoin.
  5. Quanta – The computer supplier and manufacturer for large companies – such as Apple, HP, Facebook and Google – was threatened with a $50 million ransom.
  6. NBA – Over 500GB of data was stolen related to the Houston Rockets.
  7. AXA – The European insurance company had 3TB of data compromised by a successful ransomware attack.
  8. CAN – The insurance firm suffered a ransomware attack on 15,000 devices of employees working remotely.
  9. CD PROJEKT – The video game development company based in Poland had its source codes stolen for popular video games such as CyberPunk, Witcher 3 and Gwent.
  10. KASEYA – The IT infrastructure management company was attacked by a fake software update that was sent through the system admin, infecting one million systems.

Best Ways to Prevent Ransomware and Cyberattacks

Given the rising cost of cyberattacks, organizations large and small are taking cybersecurity prevention and awareness more seriously and investing in it with adequate resources. The growing cost of a data breach underscores the need for more highly educated cybersecurity experts ready to address the scourge of ransomware attacks organizations are facing. Threats such as those seen in 2021 can be diminished with more education, awareness and training. This is especially true since many attacks are due to human error and poor security practices.
Global Learning Systems’ security experts have proven awareness training tools to help companies take a proactive posture toward cybersecurity and combat cyber crime head-on. Our security awareness training is designed to educate leaders about cyber risks and change employee behavior. We offer security awareness training packages that:

  • Deliver training in an interactive, scenario-based format, as well as gamification and achievement elements, to engage users
  • Teach employees about the latest cyber threats, including phishing and social engineering
  • Build an understanding of how the attacks work and how to handle them
  • Foster positive behaviors using the right balance of education, reinforcement, practice and rewards
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