According to Chainlasysis, ransomware revenue dropped sharply between 2021 and 2022, from $766 million to $457 million. While these numbers are encouraging, there are a few subtleties to consider when making a meaningful reading of these statistics.
Ransomware revenues dropped in 2022
In its latest study on ransomware, the on-chain analysis company Chainalysis shows that the revenue from these pirate programs is down in 2022. According to the report, the total amount of crypto stolen by ransomware in 2021 was $2.3 billion, a decrease of more than 50% from 2020.
The report attributes the decrease in ransomware revenue to the increased adoption of better security measures by companies, including multi-factor authentication and endpoint security.
It also shows that victims of ransomware attacks are increasingly becoming more prepared, with more companies taking measures to back up their data and have a plan in place to respond quickly to an attack.
In addition, the report also notes that law enforcement agencies are becoming more effective at tracking and prosecuting ransomware criminals, leading to a decrease in the number of successful attacks.
Finally, the report predicts that ransomware attacks will continue to decline in the coming years, as the security of companies, law enforcement agencies, and victims continues to improve.
As the threat of ransomware decreases, the report suggests that cybercriminals may increasingly turn to other forms of cybercrime, such as phishing, DDOS attacks, and cryptojacking.
In fact, as the graph below shows, this figure has dropped from $766 million to $457 million, a drop of just over 40% :
However, Chainalysis urges caution in interpreting the data, as it explains that not all of the attackers’ crypto addresses have been identified yet, which leaves a margin of error in the numbers. To give a point of comparison, while the 2021 attacks are now quantified at $766 million, the company had initially announced $602 million in its initial report.
However, although this drop in revenue is real, it does not mean that attacks have dropped, but rather that they are less profitable than before. In fact, the number of ransomware strains is estimated to have increased significantly by 2022, to more than 10,000.
This metric may also show growing competition in this fraudulent industry, but Chainalysis believes it is actually more likely that the same criminal organization may be using multiple strains of malware.
First, this decline could be due to a decrease in successful attacks and a decrease in the amount of money paid by victims. Chainalysis estimates that while the number of ransomware attacks remained relatively stable during the year, less than half of the requested ransoms were paid, which explains the decrease in revenue from these malicious activities.
Second, this drop is also due to the fact that cybercriminals have started to turn to other ways of making money illegally, including money laundering, fraud and identity theft. As a result, cybercriminals are less likely to use ransomware and demand payments, as they can obtain greater profits with other techniques.
Finally, government and corporate efforts to combat ransomware have also contributed to the decline in ransomware revenue. Organizations are more aware of the risks associated with ransomware and have put measures in place to better protect themselves against these attacks, which has resulted in fewer successful ransomware attacks and, consequently, lower payouts.
As more organizations become aware of the risks posed by ransomware, they are likely to take steps to protect their systems and data, such as implementing stronger passwords, restricting access to sensitive data, and using advanced security software. Additionally, law enforcement agencies are becoming more active in pursuing cyber criminals, which could further reduce the financial incentive for ransomware attacks.
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