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The average ransomware payment more than doubled quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of 2019, while average downtime grew by several days, according to the latest figures from Coveware.

The security vendor analyzed anonymized data from cases handled by its incident response team and partners to compile its Q4 Ransomware Marketplace report.

It revealed that the average payment in the quarter was $84,116, up 104% from the previous three months. Coveware claimed the jump highlights the diversity of hackers utilizing ransomware today.

“Some variants such as Ryuk and Sodinokibi have moved into the large enterprise space and are focusing their attacks on large companies where they can attempt to extort the organization for a seven-figure payout. For instance, Ryuk ransom payments reached a new high of $780,000 for impacted enterprises,” it argued.

“On the other end of the spectrum, smaller ransomware-as-a-service variants such as Dharma, Snatch, and Netwalker continue to blanket the small business space with a high number of attacks, but with demands as low as $1500.”

That said, Sodinokibi (29%) and Ryuk (22%) accounted for the majority of cases spotted in Q4 2019. Attackers using the former variant began during the quarter to use data theft to force firms to pay-up, which may have increased the figure for total losses.

Also during the quarter, the amount of downtime experienced by victim organizations increased from the previous three months — from 12.1 to 16.2 days. This increase was driven by the larger number of attacks targeting major enterprises with more complex network architectures, which can therefore take weeks to restore and remediate, Coveware claimed.

Phishing, RDP targeting and vulnerability exploitation remain the most popular attack methods, it added. Professional services (20%), healthcare (19%) and software services (12%) were the top three sectors targeted.

According to the data, 98% of organizations that paid a ransom received a decryption key, and those victims successfully decrypted 97% of their data. However, with multi-million-dollar ransoms now commonplace, the official advice is still not to give in to the hackers’ demands, especially as it will lead to continued attacks.

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