$1.2 Billion in ransomware payments were made in 2021 from banks in the United States to recover data and more. It’s a new high and almost three times the amount previously recorded.
By 2021, U.S. banks had already handled more than $1 billion of potential ransomware-associated payments. In addition, according to a new report, most ransomware attacks are linked to Russian cyber criminals, and a vast global cyberattack hit computers and networks worldwide in the same year.
$1.2 Billion Is A Huge Amount
U.S. banks and financial institutions processed roughly $1.2 billion in likely ransomware payments in 2021, a new record almost triple the amount of the previous year, according to a federal financial crimes watchdog.
The figure represents the number of payment banks’ clients who possible cybercrimes have targeted. Banks report these suspicious transactions to federal authorities, which then investigate them.
According to a new report published by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), over half of all ransomware attacks are linked to Russia.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a cybersecurity alert warning about an ongoing campaign targeting energy companies’ networks. DHS said the malware used in the attack was similar to malicious software that had previously targeted oil and gas companies.
The agency also warned that hackers were demanding payment in Bitcoin to decrypt data stolen from affected organizations. On April 18th, leaders from 36 nations and the European Union met in Washington, D.C., to discuss effective counteraction to ransomware threats.
According to FinCEN, there were 1,489 ransomware infections last year, resulting in almost $1.2 billion in losses.
FinCEN’s report shows that four of the top five ransomware attacks reported from July through September were linked to Russia. Around 75 percent of ransomware-related incidents in the U.S. are also connected to Russia.
The increase in reported incidents could be due to increased police activity following the recent attacks on pipelines in the United States. These attacks caused significant disruptions in the supply chain of oil products, resulting in widespread gas shortages and flight delays.
What Is Being Done About Ransomware?
Consequently, the president has ordered the National Guard to assist local law enforcers in tracking down perpetrators of these crimes.
Joe Biden signed into law a bill requiring some businesses to report cybersecurity breaches and ransom payments to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). DHS also launched a public awareness program called “Ransomware Safety Week” in January 2021, which is still ongoing.