• Adam Adler

Adam Adler: "The New Digital Kidnappers" What Are The Real Costs of a Ransomware Attack?

For professional consultation on how to prevent the next ransomware attack's damages, please contact our cyber defense experts at or visit us at

On May 7 the city of Baltimore had a rude awakening in the form of a ransomware attack that infected city servers across multiple offices. It was the biggest attack on a city since Atlanta in 2018. Like Atlanta, Baltimore refused to pay the ransom, at the time worth about $72,000 in bitcoin. And like Atlanta, which paid over $7 million to fix its problem, Baltimore has budgeted a whopping $18.2 million.

As cybersecurity experts, DigitalBank Vault generally recommend against paying a ransom; however, each case is unique in its totality, and I understand sometimes an organization’s leadership may decide their best option is to pay.

Publicly, ten high-profile victims in the US paid a ransom in 2019 totaling $2.3 million. That number may not seem very substantial for an entire year but consider those are only numbers from publicly reported payouts. While Kaspersky estimates millions of attacks go unreported and the FBI investigated 1,493 cases in 2018, evidence suggests that many of the ransoms are paid by victims.

Riviera Beach and Lake City, Florida were the first this year to report they had paid a six-figure ransom. Following attacks in May these small municipalities, made up of mostly retirees, had little recourse but to pay hackers. Riviera Beach paid $600,000 to decrypt communications systems and city servers.

Lake City paid $460,000 through their insurance carrier but unfortunately didn’t get the encryption keys they needed, a reminder that criminals can’t be trusted to always fulfill their end of the bargain.

In the public sector, 42% of organizations have suffered a ransomware incident in the last 12 months, with 73% of those experiencing two or more days of downtime as a result.

According to the Tech Transformers, ransomware attacks cost smaller companies an average of $713,000 per incident, a combination of the expense of downtime and lost business due to reputational harm.

It is estimated that ransomware has cost the United States more than $7.5 billion last year.

Q3 of 2019, we saw the average ransom payment increase by 13% to $41,198 compared to $36,295 in Q2 of 2019.

Ryuk ransomware is largely responsible for the massive increase in ransomware payments. The malware operators demand an average of $288,000 for the release of systems.

Healthcare organizations were a rich target in 2019. One report by Vanderbilt University even correlated an uptick in fatal heart attacks at hospitals in the months and years following a cyberattack due to ransomware or data breaches. As of December, 43 healthcare organizations across the country have publicly reported attacks. The healthcare industry also holds the dubious honor of experiencing the largest ransom demand of the year—$14million—when Virtual Care Provider, Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was struck in November. The company, which owns 110 nursing and acute care facilities across the country, will not pay the ransom and fears it may go out of business.

Indirect Cost: Reputation Loss

Ransomware attacks are unlike stealthy cyberattacks of the past. As such, they are both highly destructive and visible, leaving victims with no choice but to make it known to the public that they have been breached.

Indirect Cost: Liability

Ransomware attacks can lead to very unhappy clients, and these clients, in turn, could resort to legal means for some compensation. That’s what happened to DCH Health Systems after a ransomware attack on Alabama Hospitals in December 2019. Subsequently, patients filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging privacy violations, negligence, and medical care disruption.

Indirect Cost: Collateral Damage

As with any type of cyber infection, victims should expect the full gamut of damage, even if it’s not directly related to the attack. In one such incident, as reported by Brian Krebs, a company initially infected with Ryuk ransomware had its entire credentials stolen and then reused for all sorts of malicious activities, in part with the help of another notorious malware family, Emotet.

Indirect Cost: Data Loss

And unfortunately, after all the damage caused by the attack itself, paying the ransom does not guarantee the safe retrieval of the victim’s encrypted data. Recently, it was discovered that the data recovery mechanism used by Ryuk is faulty, causing an incomplete recovery of some types of files and leading to data loss even if the victim had paid the ransom demand.

For professional consultation on how to prevent the next ransomware attack's damages, please contact our cyber defense experts at or visit us at

Ransomware attacks can be deadly for businesses, which might never recover from the financial burden caused by the direct and indirect damage inflicted. In one such case, a US fundraising firm has been forced to close its doors after more than 60 years in business following a crippling ransomware attack in October. The company had paid the ransom, but nonetheless, it was unable to get back on its feet and had to close shop in late December, making it a very unhappy Christmas for all its employees.

CEOs from leading corporations worldwide are using the DigitalBank Vault Encryption System for securing ultra privacy over their communications (text, audio, and video messaging, emails)

and confidential cloud file storage.

Adam Adler is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership. Primarily investing his own capital and building brands from the ground up. At the early age of 4, Adam began his tennis career at the world-renown Rick Macci Tennis Academy in South Florida. Adam remained a highly ranked Junior Tennis player for his entire junior career. Once completing high school, Mr. Adler received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. While at USC, Adam began his career by developing a patented algorithmic software as the base for his social networking company, Ultimate Social Networking Inc (USNI), and developing Ultimate College Model, seeing this to acquisition.

Adam’s love for completion never waned. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the$10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years. Adam’s second venture began with assembling a team of the best molecular scientists, mostly Merck and Amgen biochemists and formulators, and building out a multi-million dollar, 30,000 sq. ft. FDA/cGMP approved facility in Oxnard CA.

This is where Adam’s passion for biotech really began. His sports background allowed him to take this brand and bring in global icons around a strategic marketing plan activating the world’s most iconic athletes and celebrities. Adam developed this revolutionary technology in 2009. Using sublingual, buccal mucosal, and transdermal absorption directly to the bloodstream, by-passing the GI tract, Adam’s company Fuse Science completely changed the way consumers receive vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and medicines. Going direct to the bloodstream, bypassing the GI Tract, the platform technology was a game-changer. Adam self-funded this company privately for over 2 years, developing the product line and securing the IP. As Chief Executive Officer, Adam grew the company rapidly, seeing its market cap increase from $500,000 to over $100,000,000.

Adam put together one of the most impressive lists of athlete partners on the planet, signing Tiger Woods (including the rights to his bag for 5 years), Andy Murray, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Big Papi David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Arian Foster, Paul Rodriguez, and many others. Adam’s deep-rooted relationships with the world’s top athletes and celebrities are his core group of friends along with business partners.

Adam's handpicked a Fortune25 management team, hiring the President of SC Johnson, CEO of Footlocker, Chief Scientific Officer for Johnson & Johnson, Clinical Director at Merck, Head of Duke Sports Medicine, and had over 100 employees. Adam brought Daymond John and Shark Branding in as partners as well. Adam has placed products in over 100,000locations, including Walgreens, CVS, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Duane Reade, 7-11, GNC, Walmart, Target, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, and many others. Mr. Adler is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in real-estate emerging growth companies with a focus on cybersecurity, cannabis, and biotechnology.

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