Ransomware attackers have surged in 2023, extorting over $1 billion in crypto payments from their victims, according to the latest report. In its most recent report, blockchain analysis company Chainalysis compiled the findings.
The report shows a significant surge from a drop that occurred in 2022. Total crypto ransoms paid plunged to $457 million in 2022 before more than doubling to touch the billion-dollar threshold last year.
- Ransomware payments totaled $1 billion in 2023, the highest on record.
- The figure follows a surprise decline in 2022 that was the result of law enforcement actions disrupting significant groups.
Analysts believe the reversal in 2022 stemmed from factors like the conflict in Ukraine sidetracking prolific cybercrime groups and high-profile ruptures of bands like Conti.
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Chainalysis says new strains of ransomware surfaced
Chainalysis highlighted that new strains and formulations like Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) have flooded the ecosystem, with Recorded Future tracking over 500 new variants last year. The FBI’s infiltration of the Hive syndicate also appears to have spawned copycats hoping to replicate its lucrative model.
Chainalysis points to strains like Cl0p as evidence of the big game hunting strategy dominating recent ransomware attacks. Cl0p and others carry out fewer, more pinpointed attacks, but extort each victim for millions.
Cl0p allegedly exploited the MOVEit file transfer system last year to access a massive trove of targets, including the BBC, British Airways, and more. With so many compromised networks, data theft and threats of exposure proved more efficient than deploying decryption software.