KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16): Some 74%, or over US$400 million (RM1.675 billion), of ransomware revenue last year were funnelled into high-risk wallet addresses that are likely to have been based in Russia.
In a preview of its 2022 Crypto Crime Report on Monday (Feb 14), blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis said Russia has long been home to some of the most skilled hackers in the world.
“Blockchain analysis combined with web traffic data also tells us that after ransomware attacks take place, most of the extorted funds are laundered through services primarily catering to Russian users.
“An estimated 13% of funds sent from ransomware addresses to services went to users estimated to be in Russia, more than any other region,” it said.
Chainalysis said, "Russia is home to several cryptocurrency businesses that have processed substantial transaction volume from illicit addresses."
The firm said these businesses collectively receive hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency per quarter, with totals peaking at nearly US$1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2021.
It said, "In any given quarter, the illicit and risky addresses account for between 29% and 48% of all funds received by Moscow City cryptocurrency businesses."
“In total, across the three-year period studied, these businesses have received nearly US$700 million worth of cryptocurrency from illicit addresses, which represents 13% of all value they’ve received in that time,” the firm added.
"Chainalysis said scams at US$313 million and darknet markets at US$296 million make up the vast majority of illicit cryptocurrency sent to the Moscow City cryptocurrency businesses we track between 2019 and 2021. Ransomware is third at US$38 million,” it said.