A report shows that victims of ransomware criminals are refusing to pay the attackers despite being threatened. A recent study by blockchain data company Chainalysis emphasized the pattern of declining ransomware payments made by victims.
The actual sums, though, are probably greater because Chainalysis’ data hasn’t yet been updated with all of the cryptocurrency addresses that attackers possess on blockchain networks.
Furthermore, the drop in revenue was not accompanied by a decrease in the number of attempted attacks. In the first half of 2022, the cybersecurity company Fortinet reported over 10,000 distinct ransomware strains, about twice as many as in the previous six months. a pattern where on-chain data is also supported.
In addition, the average ransomware strain was observed to only be active for 70 days, compared to 265 days in 2020 and 153 days in 2021.
Despite the fact that several variants are still operational, Chainalysis claimed that there are probably not many people involved in the ransomware ecosystem. This is due to affiliates’ employment of several assault strains, which gives the appearance of numerous different attackers despite their repeated usage of wallet addresses.
Finally, research suggests that the decline in payments may be related to more individuals refusing to reimburse ransomware perpetrators.
Ransomware attackers switch to CEXs
According to Chainalysis, most ransomware attackers are now directing their victims’ money to well-known, centralized crypto exchanges in order to facilitate money laundering.
As of 2022, 48.3% of ransomware funds were directed to these sites, up from 39.3% in 2021. In the meantime, those referred to as high-risk exchanges decreased from 10.9% to 6.7%.
Darknet markets and other illegal services used to launder ransomware money saw a dip, but Tornado Cash and other cryptocurrency mixers saw a rise in popularity, going from 11.6% to 15%.
Similarly, according to a report from December from the blockchain analytics company Crystal Blockchain, bitcoin payments to ransomware hackers “totaled a mere $16 million, compared to nearly $74 million USD in 2021.”