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Russia-linked hackers amass 74% of ransomware revenues in 2021: Report

Russia-linked hackers amass 74% of ransomware revenues in 2021: Report
Photo Credit: Pixabay
17 Feb, 2022

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Ransomware was inarguably the most spoken word among enterprise IT security last year. Now, a new analysis by a blockchain data platform suggests that 74% of all the proceeds made through ransomware attacks in 2021 went to Russia-linked hackers. This was revealed by Chainalysis researchers, who claim that more than $400 million worth of crypto-currency payments went to groups that are affiliated with Russia. The study, part of Chainalysis’ 2022 Crypto Crime Report, zeroed in on dozen companies with a presence in Moscow City.

Incidentally, a report by the Russian cybersecurity company claimed that from January 2021 to November 2021, every second security incident investigated by Kaspersky was related to ransomware. The percentage shows a 12% increase in attacks as compared to the same period in 2020 fiscal.

Chainalysis said in a blog post, “An estimated 13% of funds sent from ransomware addresses to services went to users estimated to be in Russia, more than any other region. That brings us to another point: A huge amount of cryptocurrency-based money laundering, not just of ransomware funds but of funds associated with other forms of cybercrime as well, goes through services with substantial operations in Russia.” 

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Chainalysis has also revealed that collectively, these businesses receive hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency per quarter, with totals peaking at nearly $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2021. In any given quarter, the illicit and risky addresses account for between 29% and 48% of all funds received by Moscow City in total, across the three-year period studied, these businesses have received nearly $700 million worth of cryptocurrency from illicit addresses, which represents 13% of all value they’ve received in that time, as per its findings.

However, Russia has denied the accusations of harbouring cyber-criminals. 

Ransomware kind of malwares have been infamous for bringing down critical infrastructures such as the gas pipelines of colonial pipeline in April 2021, and also Ireland’s National Health Services mission. 

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