According to a new Chainalysis research, ransomware activity jumped five-fold in 2021 compared to 2019.
According to the data, the median ransomware payload increased from $25,000 in 2019 to $118,000 in 2021.
As more investors become interested in cryptocurrency, there has been a worrying increase in numerous cybercrimes on cryptocurrency networks. According to the research, the most notable of them are ransomware activity. Anonymous and untraceable cryptocurrency makes ransomware criminals happy, says Shibu Paul, vice-president of American networking business Array Network.
Incidence on Smaller Ecosystem
Despite an increase in ransomware incidents and payments in 2021, the data showed that the ransomware environment shrank in size. The study found a 75% increase in ransomware variations between 2019 and 2021, with 140 detected in 2021.
Exceptional payouts, such as the $40 million collected by Phoenix Cryptolocker, boosted the average payout to an all-time high. One factor for the surge in ransomware extortion is the focus of thieves on targeting large corporations.
The typical lifetime of its variants keeps decreasing as the ecosystem shrinks. In 2017, ransomware strains had an average lifespan of about 500 days, but that fell to 60 days in 2021.
TThe rising occurrence in a smaller environment also indicates that some places contain more activities. Since 2020, six cryptocurrency exchanges, one high-risk exchange in Russia, and two mining businesses have collected 56% funds.
Is Ransomware Prevalent?
Using technology and tools has made it easier for malevolent hackers to reinvent themselves and re-launch their ransomware activities. Rebranding was one of the explanations for why the life span and environment of ransomware strains are diminishing. Investigation revealed instances of criminals reappearing under new identities after publicly declaring their intention to halt operations. Typically, commonalities in the ransomware’s code and data obtained from cybercriminal communities and blockchain research serve as a tell-tale sign.
Furthermore, analysts believe that the lack of clearly defined government legislation and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies facilitate fraudsters’ activities.
According to Trishneet Arora, founder, and CEO of TAC Security, an American cyber vulnerability management organization, hackers favour payments in cryptocurrency because it is sometimes impossible for law enforcement agencies to follow these payments and pinpoint the end recipient. This is because cryptocurrencies are not yet fully integrated into the traditional monetary ecosystem.
According to the survey, another element that enabled fraudsters to commit these crimes is the ease of using technology. Up to 16% of ransomware payments were spent on tools and services to support more efficient attacks. This was up from 6% in 2002. This percentage was up from 6% in 2020.