Ransomware is a growing problem in the digital age. It’s a type of malicious software that hackers use to gain access to someone’s computer or network and then encrypt their files. Victims are typically asked for payment, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, before the attackers will release their files.
Total ransomware revenue dropped to its lowest in three years, according to research from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. In total, attackers received $456.8 million in ransomware payments, which is a 40% decrease from a year prior ($765.6 million).
While at first glance it would appear that the significant drop in ransomware revenue is tied to a decline in ransomware attacks, that’s not necessarily the case.
Kim Grauer, Director of Research at Chainalysis noted in TahawulTech that: “The evidence suggests that the decline in attacker revenues is due to victims’ increasing unwillingness to pay their ransom demands rather than a drop in the actual number of attacks. This reluctance can be attributed to a number of factors, ranging from more widespread utilisation of solutions such as backup and recovery that mitigate the impact of attacks, to a fear of running afoul of government regulations that prohibit the payment of ransoms to organisations that are potentially affiliated with sanctioned nations and groups.”
Separate research from cybersecurity firm Fortinet indicated that more than 10,000 unique ransomware strains were active in the first half of 2022. Having this many strains suggests that these attacks are coming from large operations, however the research also revealed that the number of bad actors who make up the ransomware ecosystem is actually small.
As businesses become privier to ransomware attackers, more is being done to mitigate these risks. Although ransomware attackers continue to victimize many sectors, including financial institutions, they are also beginning to implement robust solutions to protect themselves and lessen the damage, and the need for ransomware payments.