Ransomware Hacks Cost Victims $144M in BTC Over Last 6 Years, FBI Says

A recent presentation from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, shows ransomware hackers have pilfered massive amounts of Bitcoin (BTC) since 2013.

Between October 2013 and November 2019, victims paid roughly $144 million in BTC to ransomware hackers, FBI supervisor Joel DeCapua indicated at a Feb. 24 RSA conference.

Ransomware takes control

During a ransomware breach, nefarious parties take control of a person or entity’s computer systems, demanding payment, often in BTC, to unlock victims’ platforms.

DeCapua noted almost all ransomware payments are sent in Bitcoin, and that the bureau's number does not include other related losses victims suffered. 

FBI taking back control

As part of the FBI’s presentation at the RSA conference, called "Feds Fighting Ransomware: How the FBI Investigates and How You Can Help," the government agency touted in-depth information on the ransomware scene. 

A China-based virus known as Ryuk captured approximately $61 million — the most tallied in a single year, while Crysis, also known as Dharma, garnered about $24 million over three years. 

The bureau found a complex ecosystem on the dark web, which included contractors for building the viruses and affiliate-type programs offering proceeds to those involved in certain operations. 

Earlier today, one of Australia’s cybersecurity ministers called out the country for its 2019 “ransomware epidemic.”