A Significant Drop In Revenues Of Bitcoin Extortionists Was Reported
Ransomware revenues have fallen 40% to $456.8 million in 2022, although this does not mean the total number of attacks has fallen. That's according to a recent Chainalysis report.
For 2021, hackers received a record $766 million in ransom payments for decrypting data.
In 48.3% of cases last year, extortionists withdrew funds through centralised exchanges - up from 39.3% in 2021.
Meanwhile, the use of mixers increased from 11.6% to 15% in 2022.
At the same time, ransomware transactions on high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges fell from 10.9% to 6.7%.
Chainalysis notes that many companies have forced tighter cybersecurity measures, resorted to risk insurance and become less willing to accept ransom payments.
The development of blockchain analytics tools that allow for near-instant tracing of illicit transactions has also played to the wrongdoers' advantage.
Analysts pointed out that one of the reasons for the drop in ransomware operators' revenues may have been the active countering of this type of threat by OFAC.
Simultaneously with the drop in hacker revenue, Fortinet recorded a spike in the number of unique ransomware strains. And many of the malware variants are developed by the same criminals.
Chainalysis highlighted that the real ransomware revenue figures are likely much higher, as not every cryptocurrency address controlled by attackers is identified.