• When it comes to cybersecurity, ransomware is one of the fastest-growing threats in recent history.
  • Experts from Cybersecurity Ventures estimate that one attack will take place every 11 seconds in 2021.
  • Antivirus software provider Emsisoft estimates costs connected to ransomware hacks stood at $7.5 billion for 2019 alone.

Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a member of now-defunct hacker group REvil and alleged orchestrator behind the ransomware attack against U.S. tech company Kaseya, has been charged by the Department of Justice after his arrest in Poland last month. The hack, which targeted approximately 1,500 businesses and resulted in ransom demands totaling $70 million according to TechCrunch, is only one of several hundred publicized ransomware attacks in 2021 as our chart indicates.

Data from security firm Blackfog shows that from January to November of this year, 244 ransomware hacks were publicized, an increase of 25 percent compared to the same period in 2020. While this number may seem low at first glance, Blackfog's data is focused on initial targets made public by hacking groups and the victims coming forward themselves. The number of systems affected in what were mostly so-called supply chain attacks are not listed in the site's reporting. Those kinds of breaches have become the norm and can affect thousands of businesses via one access point, as was the case with the Kaseya hack. Even though the breach at the tech company was one of the more higher-profile cases, the majority of the publicized cyber attacks with ransom demands hit different sectors like healthcare, education or services. Most of those hacks occurred in the government sector with 47 publicly addressed instances. Among the victims were the cities of Angers in France, Liege in Belgium and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as government bodies in the UK, Germany, Italy and India.

When it comes to malware, ransomware is one of the fastest-growing threats in recent history, with experts from Cybersecurity Ventures estimating that one attack will take place every 11 seconds in 2021. According to antivirus software provider Emsisoft, the liberal estimate for costs connected to ransomware hacks stood at $7.5 billion for 2019 alone.

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Governments are most affected by Ransomware.
Governments are most affected by Ransomware.
Image: Statista

What is the World Economic Forum doing on cybersecurity

The World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity is leading the global response to address systemic cybersecurity challenges and improve digital trust. We are an independent and impartial global platform committed to fostering international dialogues and collaboration on cybersecurity in the public and private sectors. We bridge the gap between cybersecurity experts and decision makers at the highest levels to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity as a key strategic priority.

Our community has three key priorities:

Strengthening Global Cooperation - to increase global cooperation between public and private stakeholders to foster a collective response to cybercrime and address key security challenges posed by barriers to cooperation.

Understanding Future Networks and Technology - to identify cybersecurity challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies, and accelerate forward-looking solutions.

Building Cyber Resilience - to develop and amplify scalable solutions to accelerate the adoption of best practices and increase cyber resilience.

Initiatives include building a partnership to address the global cyber enforcement gap through improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public-private collaboration in cybercrime investigations; equipping business decision makers and cybersecurity leaders with the tools necessary to govern cyber risks, protect business assets and investments from the impact of cyber-attacks; and enhancing cyber resilience across key industry sectors such as electricity, aviation and oil & gas. We also promote mission aligned initiatives championed by our partner organizations.

The Forum is also a signatory of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace which aims to ensure digital peace and security which encourages signatories to protect individuals and infrastructure, to protect intellectual property, to cooperate in defense, and refrain from doing harm.

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