Ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks against U.S. Government


Sophos reporting that In the new State of Ransomware in State and Local Government 2022, it was discovered that ransomware attacks in this industry have increased by 70% over the last year. 

Hackers targeted U.S. city and county governments with 79 ransomware attacks in 2020, a 35 percent decrease in the number of ransomware attacks counted in 2019 but still a major impact to some 71 million people. The average ransom demanded in 2020 from governmental related organizations was $570,857, with over $1.75 million actually paid to hackers.

Recovering from ransomware costs local government organizations on average US$1.64 million per attack when you add together downtime, people time, device cost, network cost, lost opportunity, ransom paid, and so on. This is a little below the cross-sector average of US$1.85 million, likely because local government organizations often have smaller budgets, limiting the amount of money available to be spent on remediation.

According to Sophos The number of respondents to this question from the government sector is too low to be statistically robust. However, anecdotally, central government got back on average 63% of their data after paying the ransom. Local government fared a little better, getting back on average 70% of but still leaving a considerable proportion of data inaccessible.

Across all sectors, 29% of organizations got back 50% or less of their data, and only 8% got all their data back.

Cumulatively, over the past three years, 246 ransomware attacks have struck U.S. government organizations at an estimated cost of $52.88 billion. Ironically, while most ransomware attacks are about just that – holding data for ransom until it’s paid – the goal of most of these attacks on cities, states and counties was not to steal data but to halt processes, interrupt services and cause disruption.

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