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Ransomware Payments Grew in 2020

Recent data showed that crypto payments connected with ransomware were on the rise last year.

Ransomware is a kind of malware that is geared for extortion. Payment by the victim shall be made so that the attackers won’t have to release any personal information or destroy the system.

In the latest published excerpt of its yearly Crypto Crime Report, the blockchain data firm Chainalysis stated that the criminal addresses received 311% more cryptocurrency from ransomware in 2020 than they did in 2019. The report also warned that this is probably a conservative estimate, for Chainalysis is supposed to identify more addresses connected to ransomware payments retroactively.

The company hedged equally with last year’s figures: the Crypto Crime Report for 2019 hypothesized that 1.1% of all crypto transactions have been criminal, and this year, it found the true number is more like 2.1% or around $21.4 billion in different cryptocurrencies.

The report’s wildest guess for 2020 is 0.34%, which the report stated will also grow, for more scams are being revealed. If there is good news, it is that the starting point is remarkably lower: over $10.0B.

While payments related to ransomware grew remarkably this year, they only still account for 7% of the $10B. The tremendous majority of criminal crypto payments had to do with darknet markets and the general category of “scams.”

The report also offered a possible explanation for the increase in ransomware-related payments in 2020.

Covid-prompted work-from-home measures opened up new vulnerabilities for many organizations.” It suggested.

Ransomware programs were destructively targeting hospitals and schools amidst the pandemic, NPR and the Wall Street Journal says, as attackers look to take advantage of vulnerable systems at vulnerable institutions.

A senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, Joshua Corman said that the concern with ransomware was more than financial, and attacks on medical facilities he said, may “lead to a demonstrable loss of life.”

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