It is reported by Bleeping Computer that security researcher DarkTracer has tracked data leaks since 2019, concluding that 34 ransomware groups have leaked data stolen from 2,103 organizations to date. The data are usually leaked on the dark web following a cyber-attack in which the attackers have been able to infiltrate a company system, exfiltrate sensitive data, encrypt the data to prevent access, demand a ransom payment to decrypt the data and— when the victim refuses to pay the ransom— demand a second ransom for the destruction of the exfiltrated data. This is called a double extortion ransomware attack.

According to DarkTracer, the top five groups leaking stolen data include: Conti, Sodinokibi/REvil, DoppelPaymer, Avaddon, and Pysa. In addition, since ransomware groups have been successful in extorting ransoms with the threat of leaking data, data leak marketplaces have been created to sell the stolen data following exfiltration. According to Bleeping Computer, “[W]hile it may seem better to pay a ransom to prevent a data leak, there is no guarantee that the data won’t be released or sold to other threat actors. Therefore, if your data is stolen, you are better off treating it as a data breach and being transparent about it to those who are affected.”