U.S. banks processed $1.2 billion in ransomware payments last year, which has set a new record that is almost triple the amount in 2020, according to are a report from CNBC.
Ransomware, also known as cryptoware, is a form of digital blackmail where hackers demand that the victim pays a ransom in order to access his/her personal files lest their files are publicly published.
The $1.2 billion dollars reported to federal authorities under the Bank Secrecy Act by U.S. financial institutions represents how much clients have paid to cybercriminals. The 1,489 attacks that occurred cost more than twice as much as the previous year where$416 million in damages were recorded.
A report released November 1from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, shows that over half of the ransomware attacks have come from Russian hackers, which has been a concern of the United States since May2021 when U.S.-based Colonial Pipeline’s IT network was hacked.
The attack temporarily halted the transportation of gas and cut off nearly half of the east coast’s supply of gas, according to a May 2021reportfrom conservative magazine American Pigeon.
The pipeline, which was shut down for four days, operates a5,500-milenetwork from Texas to New Jersey and carries nearly half of the east coast’s gas. Company CEO Joseph Blount Jr. paid cybercriminals based in Russia approximately $5 million, of which about half was later recovered by the Department of Justice.
CNBC reports that leaders from 36 countries and the European Union met in Washington November 1 to discuss the ongoing threat of Russian-based ransomware attacks and effective countermeasures to be taken ahead of them.
FinCEN’s analysis stated that four out of five attacks, 75%, were Russian based. In March, President Biden signed into law the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (CIRCIA)which requires some businesses to report ransomware attacks to the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA).
“These reports will allow CISA to rapidly deploy resources and render assistance to victims suffering attacks, analyze incoming reporting across sectors to spot trends, and quickly share that information with network defenders to warn other potential victims,” CISA’s website states