A new report has emerged stating that average ransomware payments jumped by more than 171% in 2020, suggesting that cybercriminals have benefitted from an extremely lucrative period throughout the pandemic. 

The numbers come from Palo Alto Networks, who noted an 171% increase in ransomware payments from organisations and individuals that had been hit by the malicious software. 

In essence, malicious software like ransomware takes control of a user’s computer, and encrypts the data. This encryption leaves the data on that device locked up, and can only be made accessible again once a password – or decryption tool – is offered by the hacker in question. 

Hackers are happy to make these tools available to their victims, so long as they pay a price. 

According to the report in question, that price has been skyrocketing as cybercriminals look to exploit those impacted by ransomware software that often have sensitive private and corporate information stored on their device. 

That report was published recently after analysing more than 19,000 network sessions, data from more than 250 ransomware leak websites and thanks to information provided by 337 organisations that had been hit by a ransomware attack. 

The Ransomware Threat Report 2021 states that on average, ransoms paid by victims to hackers has increased from USD $115,123 to more than $312,000 in 2020. 

Authors of the report say that they noted the largest ransomware payment paid to hackers had also doubled, from $5 million to more than $10 million. 

Ransomware Payments Jumped 171% In 2020: Report