By Marcos Colon

Cybercriminals may seek payments when a successful ransomware attack compromises a machine, but the real damages lie in downtime and lost productivity, according to a new study.

The recently released "Ransomware Damage Report” by Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that damage costs tied to ransomware attacks will exceed $5 billion in 2017, primarily due to loss of data, downtime, and lost productivity. There’s also reputational harm, employee training, forensic investigation, and restoration of hostage data costs that come with the territory.

The recent WannaCry attacks were said to have caused an estimated $1 billion in damages. Although the ransomware worm impacted more than 200,000 organizations globally, the average ransom payout was $300.

Even if all of the organizations were to have paid the ransom to gain access to their files, that still comes in at $60 million, which points to the real harm done falling elsewhere.