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2022 has been an eventful year. One good thing to take from this is that ransomware revenue has dropped significantly.

Attacks on the crypto industry remain rampant. However, data suggests that victims are increasingly refusing to pay ransomware attackers. The blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, in a new report, highlight the changing dynamics of the ransomware industry.

Zooming in on 2022 ransomware attacks

It revealed that more than 10,000 unique strains were active in the first half of the year alone – a trend that was also confirmed by on-chain data. By comparison, about 5,400 unique strains have been recorded as active in the same period of 2021. The number of active strains has increased significantly in recent years, much of it, however, goes to a small group of strains at a given time.

Ransomware lifespan decreased in 2022. In fact, the average ransomware strain was found to be active for only 70 days, compared to 153 in 2021 and 265 in 2020. Most attackers funnel extorted funds to centralized exchanges of cryptocurrency. This number has increased from 39.3% in 2021 to 48.3% in 2022.

In contrast, ill-gotten funds transferred to high-risk exchanges fell from 10.9% to 6.7%. A similar downward trend has been seen in the use of illicit services such as darknet markets for ransomware money laundering. However, the use of coin mixers for the same purpose increased from 11.6% to 15.0%.

Less frequent ransom payments

Chainalysis said the total ransomware revenue estimate for 2022 fell 40.3% to at least $456.8 million in 2022 from $765.6 million in 2021. The drop is substantial and demonstrates a growing reluctance of victims to pay ransomware attackers and not a drop in the actual number. of exploits.

While saying that ransomware continues to be a major cyber threat to businesses and businesses, Michael Phillips, director of claims at cyber insurance firm Resilience, noted:

“However, there have been signs that significant disruptions against groups of ransomware actors are leading to fewer successful extortion attempts than expected.”

Especially in the past four years, the likelihood of victims paying a ransom has seen a drastic change. An analysis conducted by Bill Siegel, CEO of ransomware incident response firm Coveware, suggested victim payment rates fell from 76% in 2019 to 41% in 2022.

This change can be attributed to the fact that paying ransoms has become more legally risky, especially after the advisory issued by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in September 2021 on the potential for breaches of penalties when paying ransoms.

Another important factor playing a crucial role in the developing trend is reimbursement to victims of ransomware attacks by cyber insurance companies. Phillips pointed out that companies must adhere to strict security and safeguard measures to be insured against ransomware. The demand for better cybersecurity measures has allowed companies to recover from attacks rather than give in to ransom demands.

“The increased focus on underwriting against factors that contribute to ransomware has resulted in lower incident costs for businesses and contributed to a downward trend in extortion payments.”


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