Chainalysis: ransomware crypto payments exceed $1bn in 2023

2023 marked a major comeback for ransomware, with record-breaking payments and a substantial increase in the scope and complexity of attacks — a significant reversal from the decline observed in 2022, according to blockchain data platform Chainalysis.

Ransomware payments in 2023 surpassed the $1 billion mark, the highest number ever observed. Although 2022 saw a decline in ransomware payment volume, the overall trend line from 2019 to 2023 indicates that ransomware is an escalating problem. This number does not capture the economic impact of productivity loss and repair costs associated with attacks.

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.

Centralized exchanges and mixers have consistently represented a substantial share of transactions, suggesting they are preferred methods for laundering ransomware payments. However, this year saw the embrace of new services for laundering, including bridges, instant exchangers, and gambling services.

“We assess that this is a result of takedowns disrupting preferred laundering methods for ransomware, some services’ implementation of more robust AML/KYC policies, and also as an indication of new ransomware actors’ unique laundering preferences,” Chainalysis wrote.

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