Cryptocurrency Ransomware Revenue Falls as Victims Decline to Pay

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Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Bitfinsider

Ransomware attackers dramatically reduced the amount of cryptocurrency they were able to extort in 2022, dropping by 40.3% to $456.8 million from $765.6 million.

In a recent research, blockchain data company Chainalysis emphasized the pattern of declining ransomware payments. However, as many cryptocurrency addresses controlled by attackers have not yet been found on blockchain networks and added to Chainalysis’ data, the true totals are probably larger.

Unfortunately, the revenue drop was not accompanied by a decrease in the number of attempted attacks. In the first half of 2022, the cybersecurity company Fortinet reported over 10,000 distinct ransomware strains, about twice as many as in the previous six months. On-chain data also demonstrated the sharp rise in ransomware activity over the past few years. However, when attackers tried to conceal their actions by using different strains, the average lifespan of each kind decreased by more than half to 70 days in 2022.

Despite the fact that several variants are still operational, Chainalysis claimed that there are probably not many people involved in the ransomware ecosystem. This is due to affiliates’ employment of several assault strains, which gives the appearance of numerous different attackers despite their repeated usage of wallet addresses.

Lastly, research suggests that the decline in payments may be related to more victims refusing to pay ransomware perpetrators, according to Chainalysis.

According to Chainalysis, most ransomware attackers are now directing their victims’ money to well-known, centralized crypto exchanges in order to facilitate money laundering. From 39.3% in 2021 to 48.3% in 2022, such platforms received a larger share of ransomware funds. Those referred to high-risk exchanges decreased from 10.9% to 6.7% in the meantime. Darknet markets and other illegal services used to launder ransomware money saw a dip, but Tornado Cash and other cryptocurrency mixers saw a rise in popularity, going from 11.6% to 15%.

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