According to a new report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury on suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by financial institutions, the value of suspicious activity reports filed related to ransomware payments during the first six months of the year has already exceeded the value reported for all of last year.
The department’s Financial Trend Analysis report on ransomware trends, the total value of suspicious activity reported in ransomware-related suspicious activity reports during the first six months of tis year was $590 million, which is far more than that reported for all of 2020, which was $416 million. That’s a 42% increase compared to the total of all of 2020.
Per the report, that’s $66.4 million per month and a median of $45 million – mostly in bitcoin. This report sheds light on the scale and sophistication of the ransomware industry, which has shown no signs of slowing down.
If this current rend continues, ransomware-related SARs filed this year will have a higher transaction value than reports filed in the last 10 years combined and could nearly triple last year’s value of reported ransomware payments.
“This trend potentially reflects the increasing overall prevalence of ransomware-related incidents as well as improved detection and reporting of incidents by covered financial institutions, which may also be related to increased awareness of reporting obligations pertaining to ransomware and willingness to report,” the report says.
The department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network analyzed identifiable transactions with 177 unique convertible virtual currency wallet addresses used for ransomware-relayed payments and identified about $5.2 billion in outgoing bitcoin transactions potentially tied to ransomware payments since Jul 2018.
The report also looked into ransomware variants and identified rEvil/Sodinokibi, Contie, DarkSide, Avaddon and Photos as the most commonly reported.
According to the report, the median ransomware payment made to the top 10 ransomware variants analyzed was $148,400, but payments ranged from as high as $350,000 to just below $74,000.