- Ransomware attackers stole at least $456.8M in 2022, down from $765.6M in 2021.
- Hackers usually demand money in exchange for returning control of a computer.
As reported by blockchain forensics company Chainalysis, ransomware payments have decreased by 40.58 percent. Chainalysis claims in a research published on Thursday that ransomware attackers stole at least $456.8 million in 2022, down from the $765.6 million they stole in 2021.
Criminals that deploy ransomware demanding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as payment have long been a black eye for the cryptocurrency sector, providing policymakers with a club to demand further more stringent regulation or outright bans on digital assets. In June 2021, the Biden administration said it was increasing its efforts to combat cybercrime and ransomware. This included a greater focus on monitoring crypto transactions.
Businesses No Longer Willing to Pay Ransom
Chainalysis argues that this decline in payments is not indicative of a decrease in assaults. Instead, it attributes most of the drop to the fact that targeted businesses are no longer willing to pay the ransom demanded by cybercriminals.
Digital extortion, in which hackers demand money in exchange for returning control of a computer, is a common kind of ransomware. If the money isn’t paid, the hackers threaten to leak private information stored on the computers they’ve taken over.
Chainalysis claims that in 2022, criminals used centralized exchanges, gambling sites, and currency mixers to clean the proceeds of ransomware operations.
The percentage of ransomware proceeds going to mainstream exchanges increased from 39.3 percent in 2021 to 48.3 percent in 2022, while the percentage going to high-risk exchanges decreased from 10.9 percent to 6.7 percent, according to the company’s report, which also notes an increase in coin mixer usage, from 11.6 percent to 15 percent.