The company confirmed $416,432 in ransomware in 2020. While the figure for 2021 (up to July 13) appears to be over half of that for 2020, Chainalysis’ ability to authenticate these rewards based on correlation with ransomware wallet addresses is contingent on the identification of those addresses, which grows retrospectively.
Madeleine Kennedy of Chainalysis informed us, ” “This is a lower bound estimate because these are the only payments we’ve been able to validate thus far. As a result, our data is a little behind, implying that 2021 will likely be larger than 2020.”
According to the firm’s data, the majority of the ransomware payouts went through non-compliant global exchanges. The other end of these cashouts has a surprisingly restricted range of deposit addresses, implying a concentration of people behind the most successful attacks. However, analytics organizations such as Chainalysis are better at detecting these types of transactions, which do not contain more active privatization measures such as the use of Monero.
Less well-known in terms of technology, but no less important: Many businesses avoid attracting public notice or, worse, the wrath of authorities by paying ransomware perpetrators in secret. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control cautioned that corporations funding ransomware assaults could face enforcement action since the office suspected sanctioned entities of being at the heart of many ransomware scams.
“The true cost of ransomware ransoms is likely far higher,” Kennedy noted, “since many firms secretly pay ransoms.”
Over the course of 2021, the issue of worldwide ransomware attacks has gained traction, resulting in massive fund inflows into analytics and forensics startups like Chainalysis. Attacks against increasingly conspicuous targets and key infrastructure have been aided by ransomware-as-a-service companies. Ransomware has now entered the sphere of national security as a result of this trend.
A legislative subcommittee convened a hearing on the topic earlier this week. The importance of ransomware as a tool of state actors, particularly Russia and China, loomed big, especially given the Biden administration’s recent focus on their respective cyber programs.