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As of June, financial institutions had reported 635 suspicious activities related to ransomware to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to a report by the Treasury Department on Friday – a 30% increase over all reported activity in 2020.

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

The analysis, which is the first as part of FinCEN’s updated threat trends reporting earlier this year, highlights both concerns about the rising cost of ransomware and the role of virtual currencies in the way criminals extort and launder money. The Treasury Department announced last month that it had first sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange to facilitate transactions with funds obtained through ransomware.

The report as well Instructions issued on Friday for compliance with the sanctions rules for virtual currencies, is another step by the agency to inform the industry.

“The Treasury Department is helping stop ransomware attacks by making it harder for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need partners in the private sector to prevent this illegal activity,” Wally Adeyemo, assistant finance minister, said in a statement .

DarkSide and REvil turned out to be two of the most popular of the 68 strains of ransomware mentioned in the reports. Both groups have been extensively vetted by US law enforcement agencies. In May, REvil received a reported $ 11 million payment for an attack on the global meat-supplying JBS. The group followed up with a July hack on the Kaseya software company who immobilized hundreds of customers, some for months. DarkSide hackers Millions extorted from US fuel supplier Colonial Pipelinewhich led to a panic about possible gas shortages.

Legislator have urged to make reporting of ransomware payments mandatory.

Bitcoin was the most popular form of virtual currency for transactions. Based on the addresses of the virtual wallets related to reported ransomware payments, FinCEN identified a total of $ 5.2 billion in outbound BTC transactions that could be linked to ransomware payments.

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