New research has revealed that average ransomware demands have surged by 518% in the first half of 2021 in comparison to 2020. 

New figures released by the Unit 42 security consulting group, discovered that the average ransom demand from ransomware gangs in H1 2021 was $50m, a significant increase from $847,000 in 2020. Researchers noted that the highest demand made of a single victim as of yet was $50m, in comparison to $30m last year.

Additionally, the average ransomware payment in 2021 was $570,000, an increase when comparing to $312,000 last year. It was noted that the average payment in 2020 was 171% higher than in 2019 - thus highlighting how profitable this tactic has become during the past 18 months. 

The Unit 42 team explained that the main reason for this is due to ransomware gangs becoming more “greedier,” and the use of new extortion approaches. 

Researchers believe that the ransomware epidemic is set to worsen over the coming months and have observed threat actors “develop new approaches for making attacks more disruptive.” 

They added: “While we predict that ransoms will continue their upward trajectory, we do expect to see some gangs continue to focus on the low end of the market, regularly targeting small businesses that lack resources to invest heavily in cybersecurity. So far this year, we have observed groups, including NetWalker, SunCrypt and Lockbit, demanding and taking in payments ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. While they may seem small compared to the largest ransoms we observed, payments that can size can have a debilitating impact on a small organization.”

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