With 2020 coming to a close, SC Media is delivering through a series of articles our picks of the most high impact events and trends of the last year, which we predict will factor into community strategies in 2021 and beyond. This is the third in that series.

Many people are looking forward to midnight, Jan. 1, 2021, when they can once and for all put what many regard as the worst year ever behind them. Unfortunately some things – like ransomware – appear poised to reach new heights in the years ahead.

One can measure this deflating reality in a variety of ways. Volume and frequency? Virtually every threat intelligence company is reporting the number of attacks per day at or well above historical highs. Average ransom payment? Up to nearly $250,000, compared to $100,000 in 2019, though the median gains were much more modest. Impact on society? Nations already roiled by a global pandemic have seen ransomware groups casually blow past any ethical red lines to target hospitals, school systems and other critical infrastructure.

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