2021 ransomware transactions have already exceed 2020 numbers, Treasury Department says

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Oct 15, 2021 | CYBERSCOOP

As of June, financial institutions have already reported 635 suspicious ransomware-related activities to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to a report out Friday from the Treasury Department — a 30% increase from all reported activity in 2020.

The report also found that the cost of ransomware payments is climbing. The total value of the 2021 reports was $590 million — or a $66.4 million monthly average — compared to $416 million for all of 2020.

The analysis, which is the first issued under the updated FinCEN threat trend reporting requirements enacted into law earlier this year, underscores both concerns with the growing cost of ransomware as well as the role of virtual currencies in how criminals extort and launder funds. The Treasury Department last month announced its first sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange for facilitating transactions involving money gained from ransomware.

The report, as well as guidance issued Friday for virtual currency compliance with sanctions requirements, is another step by the agency to put the industry on notice.

“Treasury is helping to stop ransomware attacks by making it difficult for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need

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