Ransomware is having a very odd second quarter of the year as new variants enter the game governments finally take notice and insurers tighten their underwriting requirements.

Every quarter I make certain to cover their Quarterly Ransomware Report articles, as they provide great insight into the current state of attacks, ransoms, variants, and more. But in Coveware’s latest report covering Q2 2021, we see a bit of a different tone.

In the report, we saw a massive downturn in the average ransom payment – just a little over $136K, down 38% from Q1 of this year. And, yet the percentage of ransomware attacks threatening to leak exfiltrated data increased by 5% this quarter, to 81%.

This is a bit counterintuitive; why would payments go down, but threats (that should yield higher payments) increase?

It may have something to do with some of the other points covered in the Coveware article:

  • 4 new ransomware variants slip into the top 10 list, pushing out old players. (When you think of ransomware as a “business”, sometimes the new players on the market will undercut their competition to establish themselves. Could that be it?)
  • REvil ransomware – which has been behind some of the most high profile attacks last quarter – seems to have disappeared. (This could be due to the increasing involvement of governments – including our own – taking notice of the implications and are beginning to put pressure on foreign governments to put a stop to these cybercriminal gangs.)
  • The attacks on critical infrastructure have woken up CEOs who are now paying attention to the realities of modern ransomware attacks and their impact, and are willing to spend whatever it take to keep from becoming a victim.

Whatever the reason for the lowered ransom payments, the Coveware data still suggests that businesses of every size continue to be under attack and should take measures to protect themselves from the three primary initial attack vectors – vulnerabilities (hint: time to get vulnerability management in high gear), remote access via RDP (shut it down and get a real remote solution), and phishing (educate your users with Security Awareness Training so they don’t fall prey to malicious email content).