Ransomware: DarkSide Debuts; Script-Kiddies Tap Dharma


Mathew J. Schwartz

Ransomware-wielding gangs continue to rack up new victims and post record proceeds. That's driving new players of all sizes and experience - beginners, criminals already skilled in the ransomware ecosystem and more advanced attackers - to try their hand at the crypto-locking malware and data-exfiltration racket.

For criminals, the draw of ransomware is easy to see: Using crypto-locking malware to extort organizations continues to pay ever-greater dividends - on average, now nearly $180,000, according to ransomware incident response firm Coveware, based on cases it investigated from April through June. The average amount was a 60% increase from the first quarter of the year (see: Ransomware Payday: Average Payments Jump to $178,000).

Clearly, ransomware is surging, despite the ongoing economic chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In large part, of course, that's because some victims are...

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