The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) says that over $5 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC) could have been used to make ransomware payments in the first half of 2021.
In a new report analyzing data from January to June 2021, FinCEN scanned hundreds of different crypto wallets used to make ransomware payments and found that bad actors potentially collected $5.2 billion in BTC.
“FinCEN identified and analyzed 177 unique convertible virtual currency (CVC) wallet addresses used for ransomware-related payments associated with the 10 most commonly reported ransomware variants in SARs (suspicious activity reports) during the review period.
Based on blockchain analysis of identifiable transactions with the 177 CVC wallet addresses, FinCEN identified approximately $5.2 billion in outgoing BTC transactions potentially tied to ransomware payments.”
According to the report, the amount of suspicious activity reports relating to ransomware has exploded this year. Should the trend continue, there will be more ransomware-related SARs in 2021 than in the last 10 years combined.
“The total U.S. dollar value for ransomware-related transactions reported in SARs filed during the review period exceeds that of any previous year since 2011.
In the first six months of 2021, FinCEN identified $590 million in ransomware-related SARs, a 42% increase compared to a total of $416 million for all of 2020.
If current trends continue, SARs filed in 2021 are projected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than SARs filed in the previous 10 years combined, which would represent a continuing trend of substantial increases in reported year-over-year ransomware activity.”
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