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Ransomware costs to exceed $250 billion within a decade

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Martial Red)

If cybercriminals continue to refine their code and extortion practices, the cost of ransomware is expected to reach $265 billion per year within the next decade, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

If the company's forecasts prove correct, ransomware damages will be more than 10 times greater in 2031 than the $20 billion lost last year.

However, the researchers noted that these figures could be off the mark, as pinning down the exact number of successful attacks is quite difficult. All of the data they were able to gather on ransomware activities came from companies “that cared enough to report [attacks],” the report explained.

Ransomware is a popular criminal activity due to the potential to extort high-profile companies for massive sums, which is why it is growing “like a hydra”, the researchers say. As soon as law enforcement shuts down one operation, two new ones take its place. 

Yet again, the precise numbers are hard to pin down. While one recent study said 61 percent of businesses reported being hit by ransomware last year, another asserted that the number of attacks actually dropped (from 51 to 37 percent in a year). The consensus, however, is that the financial impact of ransomware is becoming greater.

The good news is that Cybersecurity Ventures expects most corporate systems to be running on the cloud by 2031. Granular full-stack architecture can reportedly propagate new patches across multiple computers more easily, which should result in less ransomware exposure.