List of ransomware attacks

List of Ransomware Attacks: Biggest and Most Devastating Attacks of All Time

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PUREVPNPrivacy & SecurityList of Ransomware Attacks: Biggest and Most Devastating Attacks of All Time

Ransomware attacks are a type of malicious cyber attack where an attacker encrypts a victim’s files or systems and demands payment, typically in cryptocurrency, in exchange for restoring access to the encrypted data. In this article, we will provide a list of some of the most notorious ransomware attacks that have caused widespread damage and disruption across the world.

This malicious practice has become increasingly common in recent years with cybercriminals using sophisticated techniques to hold individuals and organizations hostage by encrypting their data and demanding payment in exchange for its release. 

These attacks have impacted a wide range of sectors, from healthcare and finance to government, and no one is safe. As the scale and severity of these attacks continue to grow, it’s crucial to stay informed about the most significant incidents in history.

So, brace yourself for a shocking account of some of the cybercrime’s biggest heists!

List of ransomware attacks

List of 10 infamous ransomware attacks

1) Hive (2023)

  • The Justice Department of the United States announced on January 26, 2023, that it had successfully disrupted the operations of the infamous RaaS(Ransomware-as-a-Service) group known as Hive. The group had already targeted over 1,500 victims globally until that point. 
  • The DoJ obtained a court order to confiscate the back-end servers that belonged to Hive. Attorney General Garland cautioned that although the group’s operations have been halted, the menace of ransomware attacks remains high.

2) BlackCat (2022)

  • In a note posted on the blog of Conoframa, a French furniture distributor, a group of hackers going by the name ALPHV or BlackCat, have claimed to have swiped over a terabyte of the company’s data. 
  • The retail chain has been given a 48-hour ultimatum, starting from November 10, to contact the ransom group if they hope to restore their data and avoid any customer information from being leaked.

3) Darkside (2021)

  • Darkside, a hacking group, infiltrated the largest “refined products” pipeline in the United States called Colonial Pipeline with ransomware on May 7, 2021, causing it to go offline. The pipeline operator said it paid the hackers $4.4 million in cryptocurrency. 
  • The attack had a notable impact as the average price of gasoline in the US surged to over $3 for the first time in seven years in the aftermath of the incident. This sudden hike in price was due to the panic buying of fuel by drivers.

4) REvil (2021)

  • In July 2021, Kaseya, an IT firm, announced its systems had been infiltrated. According to a report by Reuters, the cybercriminal group REvil claimed responsibility for the attack and demanded a ransom payment of $70 million in Bitcoin from Kaseya.

5) Ragnar Locker (2020)

  • In July 2020, CWT, a US-based firm specializing in business travel management, confirmed it had fallen victim to a ransomware attack that compromised its systems.
  • The attackers used Ragnar Locker ransomware to infiltrate the company’s network, claiming to have stolen confidential corporate data and disabling 30,000 computers in the process. CWT admitted to paying the ransom of about $4.5 million to the attackers.

6) Netwalker (2020)

  • In June 2020, the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) announced that the IT systems of the UCSF School of Medicine were hacked by a group known as Netwalker. The attack compromised the medical research institution’s systems, including their work on developing a cure for COVID-19. 
  • The hacking collective Netwalker demanded a ransom payment of $3 million and after negotiations, UCSF paid the bitcoin equivalent of $1,140,895 to resolve the issue.

7) Maze (2019)

  • Maze ransomware is a type of malware that targets organizations across various industries globally. Maze is thought to operate through an affiliated network, with Maze developers sharing their proceeds with different groups that deploy the malware in organizational networks. The operators of Maze are also known for exploiting assets in one network to propagate to other networks.

8) Ryuk (2019)

  • Ryuk ransomware is specifically designed to target enterprise environments. Analysis of its code reveals that it was derived from Hermes ransomware’s source code and has undergone continuous development since its launch.
  • While Hermes ransomware is commonly used by multiple threat actors and can be purchased on online forums, Ryuk ransomware is exclusively used by the Wizard Spider group and is solely aimed at enterprise environments.

9) WannaCry (2017)

  • A ransomware attack known as WannaCry spread across the globe in May 2017, exploiting a vulnerability in Windows PCs. This vulnerability was disclosed to the public following the massive leak of NSA documents and hacking tools by a group called Shadow Brokers.
  • While the exact number of victims of the WannaCry attack is unknown, it’s estimated that over 200,000 computers were infected worldwide.

10) NotPetya (2017)

  • In 2017, ransomware known as NotPetya was identified to have rapidly infected computer systems across multiple countries. This type of ransomware is particularly malicious due to its ability to spread laterally using stealthy propagation techniques, thereby encrypting multiple systems within an organization and it demanded $300 for each infected machine via ransom notes.

Impact of ransomware attacks

1) Economic costs of ransomware attacks

One of the most immediate and visible effects of a ransomware attack is the economic cost. Companies that are targeted often face lost revenue due to downtime, operational disruptions, and the cost of ransom payments. 

These costs can be particularly devastating for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources to absorb the financial blow.

2) Disruption of critical infrastructure

Hospitals, utilities, and transportation systems are just a few examples of the types of infrastructure that can be targeted by ransomware attacks.

When these systems are taken offline, the impact can be severe, potentially resulting in significant harm to public health and safety.

3) Loss of sensitive data and personal information

This can include everything from financial data and trade secrets to personal medical records and customer information. When this type of data is compromised, the consequences can be long-lasting and far-reaching. 

Organizations that fail to protect this data may face legal and reputational consequences, while individuals may experience identity theft or other forms of financial fraud.

4) Psychological impact on victims

Ransomware attacks can also have a psychological impact on victims. The feeling of violation and loss of control that comes with being the target of a cyber attack can be particularly traumatic for individuals and organizations. 

This can lead to a loss of trust in technology and a sense of vulnerability that can take time to overcome.

Reasons for the increase in ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years, and there are several reasons behind this trend. 

Availability of ransomware as a service (RaaS)

The availability of ransomware as a service (RaaS) on the dark web where anyone with little to no technical knowledge can purchase ransomware and launch an attack is a big reason for increased attacks. 

This has made it easier for cybercriminals to conduct attacks and has led to a proliferation of ransomware variants.

Use of cryptocurrency for ransom payments

Another factor is the use of cryptocurrency for ransom payments, which makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track the money and apprehend the attackers.

Cryptocurrency provides anonymity, and ransomware attackers often demand payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that are difficult to trace.

Poor cybersecurity measures

Many organizations have outdated software, weak passwords, and unpatched vulnerabilities, making them vulnerable to ransomware attacks. 

Also, many organizations do not have proper backup systems, making it difficult for them to recover from a ransomware attack without paying the ransom.

Prevention against ransomware attacks

Here are some effective measures that you can take to prevent ransomware attacks:

Regular backup of data

  • Regular backups of important data and files should be conducted.
  • The backups should be stored offline or in the cloud to avoid being compromised in case of an attack.

Implementation of strong passwords

  • Strong passwords that are difficult to guess or crack should be used to secure accounts and systems.

Regular software updates

  • Regular software updates should be conducted to ensure that all systems and software are up to date with the latest security patches and fixes.

Employee training on cybersecurity best practices

  • Employees should be trained on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and avoid suspicious emails or links.

Use of anti-virus and anti-malware software

  • Anti-virus and anti-malware software should be installed and updated regularly to detect and remove any malicious software.

Adoption of multi-factor authentication

  • Multi-factor authentication, such as using a combination of passwords and biometric verification, can provide an extra layer of security to prevent unauthorized access.

Use of VPN

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be an effective tool in preventing ransomware attacks. 
  • VPNs create a secure, encrypted connection between a device and the internet, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept data and gain unauthorized access to a network. 
  • This added layer of security can prevent attackers from infiltrating a network through unsecured connections or public WiFi.

Added benefits of using VPN

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can provide several benefits in protecting against ransomware attacks:

Encryption: VPNs encrypt all data that is sent over the internet, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept and decipher any sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial data.

IP Address Masking: When connected to a VPN, your IP address is masked and replaced by the VPN server’s IP address. This can make it difficult for attackers to locate and target your device with ransomware.

Anonymity: VPNs also provide a degree of anonymity as they can hide your internet activity and location, making it difficult for attackers to track your online behavior and target you with ransomware.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks: VPNs can also help protect against ransomware attacks when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often insecure and can be easily compromised by attackers.

It’s important to choose a VPN service like PureVPN that is reliable and can provide all these benefits without compromising any important data.

Why PureVPN?

Advanced encryption

PureVPN provides 256 bits of heavy encryption to protect your internet traffic from prying eyes.

Kill switch

PureVPN comes with a kill switch feature that automatically disconnects your internet connection in case the VPN connection drops, ensuring that your real IP address is not exposed to potential attackers.

Protection against DNS leak

PureVPN is DNS leakproof, which ensures that all DNS requests are securely routed through the VPN server, protecting against DNS spoofing attacks that could redirect you to malicious websites hosting ransomware.

Multiple VPN protocols

PureVPN offers multiple VPN protocols, including IKEv2, WireGuard, and more which allows you the best protection against ransomware attacks.

Large network of servers

PureVPN has a large network of more than 6500+ servers that spans 70+ countries, providing you with a wide range of options for connecting to a VPN server and reducing the risk of being targeted by ransomware attacks.

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, the list of ransomware attacks has continued to grow in recent years, from the WannaCry attack in 2017 to the BlackCat ransomware attack in 2022, the impact of these attacks can cause significant financial and operational losses.

But you don’t have to worry! There are methods mentioned in this article that will guide you on how to prevent these attacks. For any assistance regarding VPN, feel free to reach us via the LiveChat option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 2 risks of ransomware?

Data loss: Ransomware can encrypt or delete important data, making it inaccessible or irretrievable.
Financial loss: Ransomware attacks often demand payment in exchange for the decryption key to unlock encrypted data.

What is ransomware vulnerability?

Ransomware vulnerability refers to weaknesses or security gaps in computer systems or networks that can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access and install ransomware.

What type of threat is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that poses a significant cybersecurity threat. It typically works by encrypting the victim’s data and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key.

Can ransomware be removed?

Yes, ransomware can be removed. In some cases, ransomware may self-delete after infecting a system, while in other cases, it may remain to defect other files or devices. You can use anti-malware and anti-ransomware software which can effectively isolate and remove the malicious software by placing it in quarantine.


Marrium Akhtar


April 25, 2023


1 year ago

Marrium is a dedicated digital Marketer and an SEO enthusiast who is skilled in cracking SEO codes. Other than work, she loves to stream, eat, and repeat.

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