In 2023, ransomware gangs set a new all-time high, surpassing $1 billion in extorted crypto payments from victims, data shows.
According to data published by Chainalysis, crypto ransomware payments surged to $1.1 billion, marking a 10% increase from the previous record set in 2021 when hackers amassed $983 million in crypto. Analysts at Chainalysis note that the overall trend line from 2019 to 2023 indicates that “ransomware is an escalating problem.”
“The ransomware landscape is not only prolific but continually expanding, making it challenging to monitor every incident or trace all ransom payments made in cryptocurrencies.”
Analysts caution that the figures provided are conservative estimates and are expected to rise as new ransomware addresses come to light. For example, Chainalysis revised its initial 2022 ransom payment estimate from approximately $457 million to $567 million, as new ransomware addresses were discovered over time.
The ransomware arena witnessed significant changes in 2023, characterized by shifts in tactics, affiliations among threat actors, and the proliferation of Ransom-as-a-Service strains, the company says, adding that ransomware attackers demonstrated increased efficiency and aggressiveness recently.
As crypto.news previously reported, illicit crypto addresses received over $24 billion worth of crypto in 2023, down from an estimated $39.6 billion in 2022. Chainalysis noted there has been a transition in the types of assets involved in crypto crime, with stablecoins now constituting the majority of illicit transaction volume.