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5 Biggest Cybersecurity Events That Happened in 2021 (Yes, One is Batten!)
Jessica Mikell
Jessica Mikell

Contributing Author @ Batten

2021 was a big year in the cybersecurity space. As more and more of our important information is kept online, it is vital to keep that data secure. Unfortunately, not every organization and company is protecting that data. 

Though the year isn’t over, The Identity Theft Research Center projects a record-breaking year for data compromises. After all the ransomware attacks this year, there has never been a better time to take your cybersecurity seriously. And we have some tips that can help you prevent a ransomware attack before you can be affected by one.

5 Biggest Ransomware Attacks of 2021

Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common. Ransomware is a type of malware (also known as malicious software) that encrypts files and then demands a ransom from the file owner to restore them. The sensitive files hijacked in a ransomware attack are often sold or published if the ransom isn’t paid. 

These attacks happen when poor cybersecurity measures are in place, and they put your private information at risk. 

JBS Foods 

JBS Foods is the world’s largest meatpacker, and one of the victims of a cyber attack in 2021. Even though the organization was able to restore most of the stolen files from company backups, and continue operations mostly as normal, they still paid out a very high sum of $11 million.

Colonial Pipeline 

A compromised password lead to Colonial Pipeline paying over four million dollars in Bitcoin. The fuel pipeline company set up a VPN for remote employees, and when hackers got ahold of that password they got ahold of sensitive data as well. It’s impossible to say exactly how the hackers got the password, but however they got it, they were able to do a lot of damage with it. 


If you thought JBS foods had it bad, just wait until you hear about CNA’s brush with hackers. The attackers used a fake browser update to trick an unsuspecting employee to gain access to CNA’s data. These hackers were smart. They used a legitimate browser to suggest a fake update, and the sensitive information of employees and customers was held for ransom. In the end, the insurance company paid out an alleged $40 million to get the data back. 


Acer, a Taiwanese company specializing in advanced electronics technology, experienced not one but two ransomware attacks in 2021. The hackers got away with 60GB of sensitive files and demanded a fifty million dollar ransom. The group behind the attack, REvil, has targeted other enormous corporations and successfully collected the ransom. 


Chemical distribution company Brenntag had a difficult May in 2021 due to cyberattacks when its North America division suffered a ransomware attack. Not only did the attackers steal information, but they also encrypted network devices. Brenntag negotiated their payment down to $4.4 million, in order to protect the stolen files from being published. 

How Can I Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

Big ransomware attacks for millions of dollars make the news and seem unconnected to those of us not in charge of a huge corporation, but smaller companies and individuals become victims too. You can take steps to minimize the damage of a ransomware attack if one ever happens to you. 

  1. Back up your data. If you have your own copy of the stolen information, you will be less desperate to get it back. 
  2. Use software to detect ransomware. As we learned from some of 2021’s biggest ransomware attacks, hackers are smart and sneaky. By utilizing anti-virus software like Aura, you can identify potential attacks before it’s too late. 
  3. Keep software up to date. You know those computer updates you keep putting off? Skipping updates makes you more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

Prevent ransomware attacks by making cybersecurity best practices a part of your life. By following our steps, you will be less likely to experience a cyber attack in 2021. 

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Family Security Made Easy

At least five companies had a bad year due to ransomware attacks, but 2021 had some bright spots too. Batten was founded in order to educate you and help you keep yourself and your families safe on the home, cyber, and disaster front. 

At Batten, we give you the tools to protect your physical and digital life and provide insight and reviews for the top companies on the market. 

Prevent Ransomware Attacks in 2022

If you are not sure where to start when it comes to leveling up your cybersecurity, Batten can help. Take our quiz for personalized cybersecurity recommendations.