Crypto ransomware payments are one of the most common and serious cyber attacks. These attacks have been soaring in terms of counts as well as severity. According to few data and reports, we have observed that in the first half of 2020, average ransomware payments have increased by 60% with BTC being used for most payments. However, Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis firm, has noted over the past year such illicit payments hit $602 million. And now several experts and analysts believe that this year can be worse.
Crypto ransomware payments study
The latest report shared by Chainalysis has shed light on crypto ransomware activities in 2021. Notably, the report consisted of a graph which addressed between 2016 to 2021. However, the report stated that despite their figures, anecdotal evidence, plus the fact that ransomware revenue in the first half of 2021 exceeded that of 2020.
Furthermore, the report suggested to us that the past year will eventually be revealed to have been an even bigger year for such attacks.
Conti was the biggest strain in 2021
Last year, Conti was the biggest crypto ransomware strain that extorted at least $180 million from victims. The syndicate was thought to be based in Russia which was selling its program as a service to affiliates for a fee.
Besides, Darkside was following Conti at the second spot, which is estimated to have laundered about $100 million in cryptocurrency value.
The average attack size reached a record high of $118k last year, which marked an increment of 26% from the average of $88k in 2020. Meanwhile, the interesting bit-most strains stayed active for a short amount of time before becoming dormant. Such groups would have already stopped operating and have begun operating under a new name.
Why are such attacks soaring?
According to Chainalysis, one of the reasons for the increase in crypto ransomware payments is attackers’ focus on carrying out highly-targeted attacks against large organizations. Indeed, it is thanks to the massive payment size akin to a big game hunting strategy. Where most of the attacks were financially motivated, others were focused on deception, espionage, reputational damage and disruption of the government’s enemies.
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