$1.6 Billion Cryptocurrencies Stolen in 2021
Increase Dark Web Ransomware Attacks
According to the increase in cryptocurrency fraud cases filed with the IC3, since 2018, losses have increased by sevenfold with crypto crime increasing every year. A report from the complaint agency shows that in 2020, there was $246.2 million in associated theft. Meanwhile, in 2021 more than $1.6 billion in crypto assets were stolen by hackers operating on the dark web.
Additionally, While the fraud complaints were less in 2021, with 34,202 reported scams, the dollar value has increased significantly. The reported cases for 2020 were 35,229 cases of stolen cryptocurrency assets.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has moved to tackle the high rise in cryptographic currency theft. Accordingly, the agency has tripled the number of investigators attached to a special unit that deals with cyber crime inclusive of cryptocurrency
New FBI Unit Tackles Crypto Crime
According to official reports from security analysts, the scams reported are oftentimes associated with investment frauds. Now, with the increased theft that can cost a single individual thousand of dollars, the FBI has dedicated an investigative body that focuses on crimes committed by dark web scammers.
Ransomware launched by dark web hackers has become the number one weapon in cryptocurrency fraud. In 2021, the amount of ransomware fraud has grown tremendously with the IC3 documenting upwards of 3,729 related complaints, and theorizing that some fraudulent ransomware crypto crimes were likely not detected, or reported by victims.
The Most Notorious Ransomware Hackers
Cyber criminals have created ingenious ways that include a variety of techniques to stealthily infect the computer networks of their victims. The crimes are committed through ransomware, phishing emails, and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) hacks. Also, software vulnerability exploitation leads to the three vectors for ransomware infection attacks.
In 2021, ransomware attacks on businesses were tripled by the most notorious dark web ransomware groups with the Conti hackers leading the way with 87 scams launched against global companies. The LockBit hackers were tracked to 58 occurrences. In addition, REvil/Sodinokibi hacking group round out the three ransomware groups that were reported to the IC3 security agency.
According to researchers at the US leading security agencies, in 2018, reported paid ransom losses by companies, which fell victims to ransomware criminal hackers amount to $49.2 million. However, perhaps due to under-reporting approximately $30 million was reported in 2020. But those reported payments do not figure the amount paid out to rectify and reinforced the affected computer network systems.
In June 2021, critical infrastructure owners or business operators have reported 649 ransomware attacks to the IC3 agency. The most commonly targeted victims are attached to industries such as health care, wealth management, and IT industries. With 2022, now in focus, the IC3 predicts ransomware scams against critical infrastructure should rise exponentially.