Google study: Cyber-thieves made at least $25m from ransomware in the last two years.
According to a report, Ransomware now regularly makes more than $1 million a month for its creators, and Cyber-thieves have made at least $25 million from ransomware in the last two years.
The search giant has created thousands of virtual victims of ransomware to unveil the payment ecosystem surrounding the malware type.
According to another report, most of the mentioned amount was made in 2016 as gangs realized how lucrative it was and this report also said that two types of ransomware made most of the shots while the other variants are starting to emerge.
Track and trace
Elie Bursztein from Google said, “It’s become a very, very profitable market and is here to stay,”
Ransomware is a malicious software infectious to a machine, encrypting or scrambling files so they can no longer be used or read. The files are just decrypted when a victim pays a ransom. (Payments typically are made using the Bitcoin virtual currency).
According to Bursztein, Google used several different methods to work out how much amount was flowing towards ransomware creators.
He also said that drawing on reports from people who earlier paid a ransom, it sought out the files being used to infect machines after that ran those on lots of virtual machines to generate “synthetic victims”.
Then it monitored the network traffic generated by these victims to work out to where cash would be transferred. The data collected in this stage was also used to find more variants of ransomware and the 300,000 files it found broke down into 34 of them.
The popular strains were the Locky and Cerber families, said Mr. Bursztein.
A payment analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, that logs all transactions made using the e-currency, has revealed that those two strains also made the most money over the last year. Locky collects about $7.8m and Cerber $6.9m.
The research reveals where the cash flowed and together in the Bitcoin network and where it was converted back into cash, also was mentioned that more than 95% of Bitcoin payments for ransomware were cashed out via Russia’s BTC-e exchange.
While, according to Mr. Bursztein, the groups behind the ransomware explosion were not likely to stop soon, although established strains are facing strong encounter from newer ones.
He also said the game of ransomware is no longer reserved for the tech-savvy criminals instead it’s for almost anyone.