Banks in the United States paid out nearly $1.2 billion in 2021 as a result of ransomware attacks, a marked increase from the previous year, although this could simply be due to a more financial institutions were asked to report the incidents.
The figures come from the latest Financial Trends Analysis report [PDF] on US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) ransomware covering Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) deposits for 2021.
Its findings indicate that ransomware continues to pose a significant threat to US critical infrastructure, businesses, and the public, and that a significant number of ransomware attacks appear to be linked to sources in Russia.
In fact, the total ransomware incidents and their monetary value reported in BSA filings in 2021 far exceed those in other years, according to the report. FinCEN said it received 1,489 ransomware-related filings worth nearly $1.2 billion, an increase of 188% from $416 million filed in 2020.
However, the report also notes that the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued ransomware-related advisories and encouraged reporting of ransomware incidents in the second half of 2021, which may have contributed to an increase overall numbers.
Meanwhile, of the 84 individual ransomware variants reported to FinCEN in connection with incidents during this period, the agency reports that 49 of them, or approximately 58%, may be linked to suspected actors of the Russian threat.
FinCEN claims it was able to make this identification because these variants used a Russian-language code, were coded specifically not to attack targets in Russia or former Soviet states, or were advertised primarily on websites in Russian. Four of the top five ransomware variants reported over the period could be linked to Russia via at least one of these attributes.
“Today’s report reminds us that ransomware – including attacks by Russian-linked actors – remains a serious threat to our national and economic security,” said Acting FinCEN Director Himamauli Das. , in a press release.
The report was released to coincide with the International Ransomware Initiative’s second summit in Washington, where attendees from 36 countries were hosted by US Treasury Undersecretary Wally Adeyemo to discuss a unified approach. the threat of ransomware.
“It is a clear testament to both the grave threat posed by ransomware and the critical importance of international cooperation that we have such participation from countries around the world at this summit,” Adeyemo said in a statement. communicated.
“Amid this landscape, it’s more important than ever that we come together to share what we see through our unique lenses and learn from each other’s best practices.” ®
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