Funds flowing into known criminal cryptocurrency accounts were down 65% in the first half of 2023 in comparison to the same period in 2022, however ransomware has seen a significant rise in activity and is on track to become one of the biggest years to date according to a report by Chainalysis.
In their Crypto Crime Midyear Update, Chainalysis found that transaction volumes to risky entities like crypto mixers and high-risk exchanges had reduced in activity by 42% year-on-year year while more legitimate services only saw a 28% decrease in transactions.
This is largely due to a decline in cryptocurrency-based scams over the period as scammers made nearly $3.3bn less YoY amassing just over $1bn in the first half of 2023.
Chainalysis says that this fall is largely attributed to the disappearance of VidiLook and Chia Tai Tianqing Pharmaceutical Financial Management, two large investment scams that have ceased activity following a classic exit scam leaving investors out of pocket.
However, ransomware is the only crypto-based crime set to grow in 2023 as attackers have already extorted $176m more than the same period seen in 2022, reversing a downward trend that was forming.
In fact, ransomware attackers are on course for their second-biggest year ever, having extorted at least $449m through June. If this trend continues it's possible that attackers could end up extorting $899m from victims, just falling short of the all-time high of $940m, set in 2021.
The surge in profits can be traced back to the resurgence of large businesses being successfully attacked, alongside an increase in smaller attacks targeting local small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
To learn more on how you can protect your business from ransomware, no matter the size, you can visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s website, which is full of free advice and guidance on how UK businesses can protect themselves from cybercrime.
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Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).