Chainalysis Reports: 2023 Marks Record Year with $1 Billion in Ransom Attack Payments

By Ben Knight February 08, 2024 In Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Scams
Source: Adobe Stock
  • Ransomware attacks nearly doubled in 2023, with over USD $1 billion in crypto extorted.
  • Malicious cyber criminals started targeting bigger institutions leading to an increase in stolen funds.
  • On the other hand, the amount of digital currency lost due to hacks and scams sunk year-on-year.

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.

Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben Knight is a writer and editor from Melbourne with a passion for all things music and finance. He enjoys turning complex topics – especially the technical details of cryptocurrency – into digestible bites that anybody can understand. He acquired his Master’s in Writing, Editing and Publishing from RMIT in 2019 and has run his own creative writing business ever since.

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