Malware leaps from the darkness to envelop our lives in a cloak of stolen information, lost data and worse. But to know your enemy is to defeat your enemy. So we peered over the ledge leading to the dark web and leapt. The forces we sought are disruptors – without warning, they disturb our businesses and our connections to family and friends.
And darkness we found – from million-dollar ransoms to supply chain attacks, these malware variants were The 6 Nastiest Malware of 2021.
How malware disrupted our lives
These days, every major ransomware campaign runs a “double extortion” method, a scary prospect for small businesses. They steal and lock files away and they will absolutely leak data in the most damaging way if a ransom settlement is not reached.
Phishing continues to be key for these campaigns and it’s typically the first step in compromising a business for the nastiest malware.
This highlights the importance of user education – training users to avoid clicking these phishing lures or preventing them from enabling macros from these attachments are proven in stopping malware in its tracks.
While the list below may define payloads into different categories of malware, note that many of these bad actor groups contract work from others. This allows each group to specialize on their respective payload and perfect it.
This year’s wicked winners
Victimized by malware
The good news (I guess) is that last year’s average ransom payment peaked at $200,000 and today’s average is just below $150,000.
The bad news is that hackers are spreading the love and targeting businesses of all sizes. In fact, most victims are small businesses that end up paying around $50,000. Ransomware actors are getting better with their tactics, recruiting talent and providing a streamlined user experience.
The whole process is terrifyingly simple and for every one that gets shut down, two spring up to replace it. To top it off, supply chain attacks are becoming a massive issue.
Protect yourself and your business
The key to staying safe is a layered approach to cybersecurity backed up by a cyber resilience strategy. Here are tips from our experts.
Strategies for business continuity
Strategies for individuals
Discover more about 2021’s Nastiest Malware on the Webroot Community.
Kyle Machado is a writer at Carbonite + Webroot. He tells the story of the people and products that help keep our digital lives secure.