Ransomware gangs have become more proficient and professional, aided in some cases by a mini-industry of consultants and stolen credential vendors. “I see no reason why ransomware would slow down in 2021,” says one industry expert. In fact it’s likely to get worse, he predicts, as the modus operandi of the perpetrators continues to evolve. In addition to the long familiar data-lockup pending a payoff scheme, they are now likely to exfiltrate organizational data, and, for added leverage, threaten to release it publicly. On the bright side for potential victims, sophisticated practitioners are now more likely to lurk within targeted systems for an extended period, waiting for a time of high vulnerability, such as the start of the academic year for a college or high demand for a health care provider. Best case is that this may give an alert organization the chance to take preemptive action. Smaller organizations may also benefit from a trend toward fewer and more sophisticated attacks against bigger companies, but with higher payment demands. According to one cybersecurity company, the average ransom demand has increased from $5000 in 2018 to nearly $200,000 in 2020.