Hackers got $602M in cryptocurrency ransom in 2021

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Chainalysis found that its 2020 totals reported last year were undervalued at US$350 million, and has now updated its 2020 estimates to over US$692 million.

The total is also believed to be underestimated, and is expected to eventually reach the largest crypto ransomware payment total in history.

The top three largest ransomware payments last year involved Conti, DarkSide and Phoenix Cryptolocker, with Russia-based Conti extorting at least US$180 million from victims.

Third-party services such as rented infrastructure, hacking tools, and stolen data have made ransomware attacks more effective in recent years.

The report pointed out that from 2020, 56% of the ransom funds went to three major international crypto exchanges, one Russia-based exchange, and two cryptocurrency mixing services.

Chainalysis also said ransomware is becoming a tool for attacks in geopolitical conflicts, stating Iran had the most number of suspected links with ransomware strains, followed by Russia, China and North Korea.

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