Home News FinCEN reported an increase in the number of ransomware payments in 2021

FinCEN reported an increase in the number of ransomware payments in 2021

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In the first six months of 2021, exchanges and other institutions sent 635 reports to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) about suspicious transactions related to ransomware payments. They contain information about transactions of $590 million. Which is more than just $416 million for the whole of 2020.

“The total volume of suspicious transactions reported in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to ransomware viruses in the first six months amounted to $590 million. Which exceeds the total size of transactions reported in 2020 ($416 million)”. FinCEN published report says.

The document does not specify exactly what proportion of this amount fell on cryptocurrencies. However, the agency called Bitcoin (BTC) the “most common” payment method; and noted that the number of incidents involving Monero (XMR) and other privacy-oriented assets “increased slightly compared to 2020.”

Avoiding law enforcement

According to the release, attackers are also using mixers, decentralized exchanges, new wallet addresses, and chain-hopping to avoid law enforcement.

Experts also stressed that the attackers continue to cash out funds through centralized cryptocurrency exchanges (CEX) that are unregulated; or operate in jurisdictions that do not require compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

The FinCEN methodology states that of the 635 SARs filed from January 1 to June 30, only 458 report transactions occurred during the period under review. Their total volume amounted to $398 million.

Monitoring of cryptocurrency transactions

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Previously, the media reported on preparation by the administration of US President Joe Biden of a number of measures aimed at combating cryptocurrency payments to hackers; who are behind attacks of such viruses. Later in 2021, the United States will allegedly adopt new rules to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. They will limit the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment mechanism in attacks of ransomware viruses and other illegal activities.

Earlier, a member of The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Maggie Hassan, sent a letter to a number of institutions. In particular, her letter expressed concern about the use of cryptocurrency as a ransom for extortion programs.

Recall that President Biden considered monitoring cryptocurrency transactions one of the possible options to combat cryptographers. By tracking ransoms paid by victims of attacks, the White House expects to prevent virus operators from using digital assets.

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