• FinCEN Connects $5.2 Billion in Ransomware Payments to Bitcoin ($BTC)

  • The US Treasury Department’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) revealed a whopping $5.2 billion in Bitcoin ($BTC) ransomware payments. Fincen is said to have linked these Bitcoin transactions to the top ten most common ransomware attacks. Fincen examined 2,184 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed between 1 January 2011 and 30 June 2021 and identified 177 CVCs (convertible virtual currency).

    The graph below shows that the number of SAR has increased in recent years, resulting in numerous ransomware attacks and losses. According to the data generated by ransomware-related SARs, the mean average total monthly suspicious amount of ransomware transactions was $66.4 million, with a median average of $45 million.

    According to the FinCEN report,

    “FinCEN identified $590 million in ransomware-related SARs, a 42 percent increase over the total for all of 2020.” If current trends continue, SARs filed in 2021 are expected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than SARs filed in the previous ten years combined, indicating a continuing trend of significant year-over-year increases in reported ransomware activity.”

    The comprehensive Fincen report on ransomware attacks comes in the midst of the Biden administration’s strong call for action to combat these attacks. According to the report, ransomware attackers are also using privacy coins like Monero to launder their funds. However, Bitcoin remains the most popular mode of payment.

    The United States Treasury Department has pledged sanctions against ransomware attacks.

    Ransomware attacks have become a nuance for governments around the world, including the United States, where the Biden administration has pledged strict action, as well as sanctions, against groups and companies found to be involved. The Biden administration also announced the first sanctions against a Russian virtual exchange in the ransomware-related crime.

    This year, the United States was subjected to several ransomware attacks, the most notable of which was the Colonial Pipeline attack, in which the Feds claimed to have obtained access to a hacker’s Bitcoin wallet. However, it was discovered that they were able to obtain exchange wallets where hackers had stored their funds.

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