A brand new report by blockchain analytics agency CipherTrace highlights the rising position that privacy-focused cryptocurrencies equivalent to Monero are taking part in within the rising tide of ransomware.
“Present Traits in Ransomware” delves into tendencies noticed throughout 2021 however was solely launched this week. The agency revealed there was nearly a 500% improve in “double extortion” ransomware assaults from 2020 to 2021. These are cyber assaults through which malicious actors steal a sufferer’s delicate knowledge along with encrypting it.
The report echoes comparable findings from analytics agency Chainalysis, which reported that general ransomware crypto funds topped $600 million for the interval.
The brand new analysis discovered that final 12 months noticed growing calls for for ransom cost in Monero (XMR), with attackers including premiums for funds made in Bitcoin (BTC) starting from 10 to twenty%. No less than 22 ransomware strains (from an incomplete checklist of greater than 50) solely settle for Monero (XMR) funds, and a minimum of seven of them settle for each BTC and XMR, it added.
“Greater costs for BTC are most probably seen by the ransomware actors as a premium for coping with the elevated threat in utilizing an simply traceable cryptocurrency like BTC.”
The report cited a Russian-speaking ransomware group referred to as Everest Group, which claimed to have hacked the US Authorities in October final 12 months. Based on CipherTrace, Everest Ransomware is “presently attempting to promote the info for $500,000 in XMR.”
One other instance was the Russian DarkSide group answerable for the U.S. Colonial Pipeline assault in Could 2021. The ransom might be paid in both XMR or BTC, however the price was increased for the latter.
The REvil ransomware group additionally switched from demanding BTC to demanding funds in XMR solely in early 2020.
Associated: Don’t blame crypto for ransomware
Monero is a privacy-based cryptocurrency that makes use of a mixture of applied sciences equivalent to mixers, ring signatures and stealth addresses that obfuscate sending and receiving wallets. That is why it has turn out to be the first asset of selection for these demanding ransoms.
For that purpose, Monero and different extremely privacy-focused cryptocurrencies equivalent to Sprint (DASH) and Zcash (ZEC) have been delisted by some exchanges in nations equivalent to the UK and Japan.
The Monero blockchain will likely be exhausting forked in July to additional improve its anonymity and privateness properties.