Bitcoin payments to different hacker groups have hit millions of dollars amid increasing incidents of ransomware globally.
Data provided by cryptocurrency trading calculator Crypto Parrot indicate that all-time Bitcoin payments to hacker groups have hit $60.87 million or 5,491,37 BTC. The Netwalker ransomware ranks top at $27.95 million to account for 46.24% of all the payments. REvil is second at $11.32 million with a share of 18.73%, followed by Ryuk at $4.67 or 7.73%.
RagnarLocker ransomware accounts for $4.45 million to rank in the fourth spot, while DarkSide ranks fifth at $4.42 million. Other notable Bitcoin ransomware payments include Egregor($3.15 million), Conti ($2.45 million), Bitpaymer ($1.06 million), SynAck ($0.49 million) and Qlocker ($0.48 million). The numbers are based on crowdsourced ransomware payment tracker Rasomwhe.re.
The role of Bitcoin in ransomware is mainly due to the cryptocurrency’s anonymous nature that makes it near impossible to track beneficiaries. Furthermore, Bitcoin helps hackers engage in money laundering offering the ability to convert one currency into another.
Focus on privacy cryptocurrencies
Previously, authorities have managed to track and recover Bitcoin used in ransomware. This ability has resulted in hackers preferring other more privacy-centered cryptocurrencies like Monero.
However, privacy coins are offering limited cash-out options leaving Bitcoin the highly preferred ransomware payment option.
Notably, the use of Bitcoin in ransomware has elevated the debate on banning the asset over its ability to aid crime. However, Bitcoin proponents are of the view that at this point, determining the exact scale of cryptocurrencies in ransomware is challenging.
Interestingly, the rise in Bitcoin for ransomware payments comes amid an increase in cybersecurity awareness. Despite the awareness, research by Cybercrime Magazine shows that businesses will potentially become victims of ransomware attacks every 11 seconds in 2021.
Overall, ransomware attacks are on the rise casting the spotlight on the role of digital currencies in aiding the vice.