Chainalysis Reports: 2023 Marks Record Year with $1 Billion in Ransom Attack Payments
Blockchain data analysts Chainalysis has released their 2023 crypto-based cybercrime report, unveiling some surprising developments. Perhaps the biggest finding was the meteoric rise of ransomware attacks targeting institutions and businesses (rather than individuals). Important social establishments such as universities, government bodies and supply chains were the primary victims, with criminals going “big game hunting” rather than targeting smaller businesses like most other scams.
The result? USD $1 billion (AUD $1.53 billion) worth of crypto was extorted due to ransomware.
2023 Ransomware Attacks Nearly Doubled 2022 Figures
The amount of crypto lost in 2023 to ransomware was the highest ever recorded by Chainalysis (with data going back to 2019), and nearly double the amount extorted in 2022.
However, a quick look at the graph suggests that 2022’s decline in ransomware attacks wasn’t sustainable, and that year-on-year increases are likely going forward. Chainalysis agrees with this sentiment, suggesting that “geopolitical events like the Russian-Ukranian conflict…shifted the focus [of cyber actors] from financial gain to politically motivated cyberattacks”.
The biggest contributor to last year’s ransomware was a gang called “cl0p”, who were responsible for hacking and extorting over AUD $150m in payments from file-sharing company MOVEit.
However, it’s not all bad news for the crypto industry, with Chainalysis reporting that scams and hacks – what most people associate with digital currencies – were down on the year. Additionally, international law enforcement and cybersecurity firms continue to work together to improve the defense against ransomware, with the FBI preventing hundreds of millions of losses in 2022-3 alone.