Ransomware Costs Rise and Cause Downtime

The cost of ransomware attacks across all sectors exponentially increased during the second quarter of 2019, with ransom payments rising 184 percent to $36,295 from $12,762 during the second quarter, according to a Coveware analysis.

Coveware’s Q2 Ransomware Marketplace report analyzed anonymized ransomware data handled by the security firm’s incident response team and other incident response firms that rely on Coveware’s incident response platform. In total, healthcare made up 13.6 percent of Q2 ransomware incidents.

The researchers found the average downtime also increased from 7.3 days during the first quarter, to 9.6 days, which was primarily driven by the increase in incidents caused by the ransomware variant Sodinokibi cases targeting IT managed service providers and their clients.

During those attacks, the researchers explained that every end client was impacted, which amplified the impact and the time necessary to recover.

“The total cost of a ransomware attack can be divided into two main costs. First, the recovery cost,” researchers wrote. “These expenses cover forensic reviews and assistance in rebuilding servers and workstations. If a ransom is paid, then that is also a recovery expense.”

“The second, and often more expensive cost of a ransomware attack is the total cost of downtime,” they added. “Downtime costs are typically 5 to 10 times the actual ransom amount and are measured in lost productivity (slack labor and lost revenue opportunities).”

Hackers are rapidly increasing email phishing attempts to launch ransomware attacks. The campaigns vary from highly generic emails, to exceptionally targeted. Remote desktop protocol continues to be the most predominate attack vector with 59.1 percent of all ransomware attacks.

While ransomware attacks have drastically reduced in other sectors, healthcare continues to bear the brunt of these attacks. The spring saw steady reports of healthcare providers falling victim to the malware; at one point, five providers reportedly fell victim within a week. Read this article by Jessica Davis in its entirety at HealthITSecurity. For more information on protecting your medical practice or business from ransomware attacks, contact the HIPAA compliance experts at HIPAAcraticRx.

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