According to the FBI, the Ryuk ransomware has allowed the attackers to raise USD 31.2 million. Compared to 2018, in 2019 there was an increase in this type of attack.
The US National Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently reported that the total amount of money that the victims of ransomware attacks have paid in the last six years amounts to USD 144.35 million. According to the FBI’s findings, the profits obtained from these attacks were sent to mixers and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The FBI special supervisory agent, Joel DeCapua, said that the victims of these attacks made payments between 2013 and 2019. He added that the number of ransomware attacks grew because the affected companies or organizations could submit insurance claim documents after making the payment.
In that sense, the FBI agent believes that many companies that contract an insurance policy prefer to defer the case if they are attacked with ransomware and do what their insurance company decides. It should be noted that the fact that ransomware payments are refundable has caused more bailouts to be paid.
DeCapua also stated that the total figure calculated for the last six years does not consider any other aspect related to the losses of the victims, but is only limited to payments made in bitcoins.
According to FBI statistics, Ryuk, a popular, notorious and sophisticated ransomware program, took most of the profits by accumulating in just one year the amount of USD 31.2 million, while Dharma generated USD 24.4 million in the course of three years.
Ransomware and Crypto-jacking Increase
The agent also explained that, in addition to ransomware attacks, there has been an increase in crypto jacking (malicious cryptocurrency mining) through the Internet, using increasingly sophisticated methods that make it difficult to detect it.
This information coincides with Kaspersky’s 2019 report, in which the firm indicates that the number of ransomware attacks increased in 2019, in contrast to 2018.
The South African city of Johannesburg was temporarily forced to deactivate all online channels after a ransomware attack was detected on the city’s network system. The cybercriminals sent e-mails demanding payments in BTC, which led officials to take action on the matter. However, they refused to accept the hackers’ demands.
Another attack occurred in the Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera, where criminals hacked the city’s computer system and demanded that a ransom be paid in Bitcoin to decrypt the system.
In June 2019, cybercriminals infected computers and servers belonging to Rivera Beach, in Florida. From there, they blocked access to important information. The city officials collectively agreed to abide by the hackers’ demands to pay 65 BTC, equivalent to USD 573,000.
It was also reported that, in November 2019, the Mexican oil company Pemex was a victim of ransomware attacks. On this occasion, the criminals demanded payment of more than 500 BTC to stop the attack.
A British High Court recently ordered the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex to freeze any suspicious cryptocurrency accounts that recorded a 96 BTC payment. This order came after a victim of the attack filed a complaint that criminals infected their computer system with ransomware in 2019.
By Alexander Salazar