FinCEN Links $5.2 Billion to Bitcoin ($BTC) Ransomware Payments

The US Treasury Department’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) revealed a whopping $5.2 billion linked to ransomware payments in Bitcoin ($BTC). Fincen reportedly linked these BTC transactions to the top 10 most common ransomware attacks. The data analyzed by Fincen included 2,184 Suspicious Activity Report (SARs) filed between 1 January 2011 and 30 June 2021 and identified 177 CVC (convertible virtual currency).

The following graph shows that the number of SAR has shot up over the past couple of years, resulting in numerous ransomware attacks and losses. The data generated from ransomware-related SARs also shows that the mean average total monthly suspicious amount of ransomware transactions were $66.4 million and the median average was $45 million.

Source: FinCEN

The FinCEN report noted,

“FinCEN identified $590 million in ransomware-related SARs, a 42 percent 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.”

The comprehensive Fincen report on ransomware attacks comes amid the Biden administration’s strong demand for action against these attacks. The report also found that ransomware attackers are laundering their money via privacy coins such as Monero. The most common mode of payment however remains Bitcoin.

US Treasury Department Pledges Sanctions Against Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks have become a nuance for governments including the US, where the Biden administration has pledged strict actions, as well as sanctions against groups and companies, found involved in it. The Biden administration also announced the first sanctions in the ransomware-related crime against a Russian virtual exchange.

The US faced several ransomware attacks this year, Colonial pipeline being the most noted one where the Feds claimed to had got access to hackers Bitcoin wallet. However, it was found that they managed to get their hands on exchange wallets where hackers have kept their funds.

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