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Payouts to ransomware hackers exceeded $1 billion in 2023

The criminals behind the ransomware generated more than $1.1 billion in illicit proceeds in 2023, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics specialist, as payouts are typically made in cryptocurrency.

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This figure may be surprising, given that in 2022, Chainalysis recorded a significant drop in revenue from ransomware hackers – to $567 million versus $983 million in 2021. However, the reasons for the decline precisely explain the surge in activity in 2023.

One of the key factors is the war in Ukraine, which at the beginning of 2022 distracted attackers, including from Russia, into politically motivated cyber attacks. Once the violent conflict turned into trench warfare, they returned to regular operations of extorting companies and citizens.

Another reason for the rise of 2023 was the increase in the use of zero-day vulnerabilities, which are especially effective due to the fact that compromised devices or software may not belong to the victims directly, but to their suppliers.

In addition, hackers are increasingly switching to large companies to the detriment of mass attacks. If in mid-2021 payments of $1 million or more accounted for about 50% of all, then by the end of 2023 their share was close to 80%.

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