Ransomware is really profitable for cybercrime. In six years there have been paid around $144.35 million in ransoms
Cybercrime earned about $144.35 million in ransomware payments between Oct. 1, 2013 and Nov. 7, 2019. FBI supervisory special agent Joel DeCapua announced at an RSA Conference 2020 session. According to Tech Target, that figure only includes bitcoin payments, but as DeCapua noted, “the vast majority of ransomware proceeds are paid in bitcoin.” The figure also does not quantify a party’s loss or total cost of an incident – only the ransom paid. The session “Feds Fighting Ransomware: How the FBI Investigates and How You Can Help,” offered a deep dive into the cyber security experts analysis process, including how incidents are investigated and what counts as a victory. The Top Ten of ransomware variants raised the most money, Ryuk is the winner with $61.26 million in ransoms over a one-year period, followed by Crysis/Dharma with $24.48 million (nearly three year) and Bitpaymer with $8.04 million (two years).
This malware is so successful thanks to the extensive economy that’s been built around it
According to DeCapua, part of what makes ransomware so successful was the extensive economy that’s been built around the malware. Cybercrime authors design new variants of ransomware and built ransomware-as-a-service operations where they contract affiliates on hacker forums and dark web sites; the affiliates then spread the malicious code to victims and earn a percentage of the payments. Furthermore, regarding where ransomware proceeds went, leading destinations included cryptocurrency exchanges, directly into the pockets of cybercriminals, and mixers, which are services used for laundering cryptocurrency.