Guest Post: Ransomware has already cost victims $45 million in 2021 Says Atlas VPN

Cybercriminals have started to use double extortion methods in ransomware attacks.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN, ransomware has already cost victims $45 million in 2021. Some of the ransom payments made this year are the largest ones we have seen yet.

Conti ransomware group has received the most payments in ransom, nearly $13 million in total. Conti is double extortion ransomware, which not only encrypts data but also threatens to leak it online. 

The second most payments were taken by REvil / Sodinokibi group, which extorted $12.13 million in 2021 so far. REvil is a Russian-based criminal group, and they are one of the most prominent ransomware as a service providers (RaaS). 

The DarkSide group forced $4.67 million in ransom out of their victims in 2021. They announced their RaaS in August of 2020 and became known for their professional operations and large ransoms. 

RagnarLocker extorted $4.54 million in ransom, and MountLocker took away $4.22 millionfrom their victims in 2021. 

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts on ransomware attacks:

“Cybercriminals can shut down huge organizations, highlighting a massive issue — many companies have left their infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerable to hackers. Businesses must take responsibility and secure their systems before hackers can launch even more disruptive attacks.”

Largest ransomware payments this year

Many hacker groups target specifically large organizations as their disruption would cause the most damage.

World’s largest meat producer JBS USA fell victim to the REvil attack and paid a ransom of $11 million (301 bitcoins). JBS was forced to shut down some of its food production sites on May 31st, affecting thousands of employees. 

DarkSide ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline cost the organization $4.4 million (75 bitcoins). Due to the attack, many Americans had to deal with gas shortages and price spikes for weeks to come.

Backup appliance maker Exagrid paid $2.6 million (50.75 bitcoins) to Conti ransomware hackers. Cybercriminals stole 800GB of data related to employees, customers, and other confidential information. Hackers threatened to sell the stolen data on the dark web if Exagrid did not pay the ransom.

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