- Illicit transactions with crypto dropped to 0.3 percent in 2020.
- However, there is a spike in the number of ransomware attacks.
The growth of the cryptocurrency industry has been an attractive factor for cyber-criminals. The market was threatened with several fraudulent investment schemes and hackers over the past years, causing a setback for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. However, as new entries are being educated to avoid falling for scams, including security measures on exchanges, illicit transactions with crypto dropped in 2020.
However, a new report from Chainalysis showed that these cyber-criminals are switching to other means to continue their operations, one of which is ransomware.
Illicit transactions with crypto dropped in 2020
There were fewer cryptocurrency transactions from illegal sources in 2020, compared to the year before, according to Chainalysis. Illegal transactions made up about 2.1 percent of the entire digital currency transactions made in 2019. However, the figure dropped to 0.34 percent last year, which is a big improvement. “We saw a significant decrease in the share of overall activity associated with illicit entities,” said Chainalysis’s head of research, Kim Grauer.
Many people have become more careful with their funds or cryptocurrencies, having learned about recent fake investment schemes and other fraudulent activities. However, this has also caused these bad actors to direct their illicit efforts to other channels against the cryptocurrency industry. According to this Chainalysis, cyber-criminals are increasingly turning to ransomware to illegally drain funds from people, usually in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero.
Ransomware attacks spikes
Although ransomware attacks accounted for about seven percent of the funds received by the cyber-criminals in 2020, the number of ransomware attacks increased by 311 percent from 2019 to 2020. “No other category of cryptocurrency-based crime rose so dramatically in 2020,” Chainalysis said.
Cryptopolitan reported lots of ransomware attacks on big-name companies that demand millions of dollars in Bitcoin. For instance, Campari was attacked in November and was asked to pay about $15 million in Bitcoin to recover stolen information.