The Scariest Ransomware Attacks of 2021

The Scariest Ransomware Attacks of 2021

( – As technology advances and more people come to rely on it, the potential for things to go horribly wrong increases. In 2021, bad actors across the globe carried out many ransomware attacks. Because they were undoubtedly the scariest, the most notable included the attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and those on the healthcare sector.

In early May, cybercriminals breached the Colonial Pipeline’s online systems, leading the company to shut its pipeline operations down, while hackers demanded $4.4 million. The attack led to panic on the East Coast, as many, fearing severe fuel shortages, started hoarding gas and attempting to store it in unsafe containers like plastic bags. In the end, the company paid the ransom in cryptocurrency, and the FBI attributed the attack to DarkSide, a hacking group based in Russia. Fortunately, the agency later recovered most of the money.

Another prominent breach happened in the healthcare sector throughout the year, where experts estimate the industry suffered $20 billion in losses due to lawsuits, lost revenue and ransom payments. More than 600 healthcare organizations, including clinics and hospitals, were hit by 92 attacks.

When hackers shut the infrastructure down, it resulted in several outcomes, namely leaked patient information and loss of revenue, but it also led to communication failures, which then cascaded to botched medical procedures.

This example is one reason cybersecurity measures are so important. Protecting valuable information from falling into the wrong hands can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. Fortunately, just like there are ways for hackers to breach systems, there are ways for companies to prevent these attacks from happening — and implementing stronger measures going forward is critical.

Copyright 2021,