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Crypto crime is down 65% in 2023, though ransomware is still prevalent | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Crypto-related crime is down a significant degree in 2023 compared to the preceding two years despite ransomware activity spiking to unprecedented highs, according to Chainalysis research.

The Blockchain research firm’s data shows that cryptocurrency inflows to illicit services fell 65% on an annual basis, while inflows to risky services like mixers and high-risk crypto exchanges were down 42% year over year.

The data does not include entities that have been sanctioned or those subject to special measures.

Meanwhile, inflows to legitimate services are only down 28% year over year, which means that illicit transactions are falling at a significantly faster rate beyond just the market drawback, according to Chainalysis.


Based on the data, illicit inflows are down across every category of crypto-crime, except ransomware, which is already trailing numbers seen during the 2021 bull run.

Ransomware attackers are expected to steal roughly $898.6 million by the end of 2023 at the current pace of attacks. Comparatively, the crypto industry lost a total of $939.9 million in ransomware attacks in 2021 and less than $500 million in 2022.

The firm attributes the uptick mainly to what it calls “big game hunting,” a term used to refer to ransomware attacks against large entities with substantial financial resources.

Additionally, the number of smaller attacks has also grown, and they tend to end in success more often now.

Chainalysis suggests that the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022 likely contributed to the decline in ransomware, as it displaced many of the organizations conducting these attacks from the region.

Ransomware incidents are at a record high this year and have grown more sophisticated.


On the other hand, inflows related to scams have seen a “drastic” fall during 2023 —

Revenue from crypto-scams is down 77% compared to 2022, which itself saw a significant decline on an annual basis.

Scam revenue fell despite positive price momentum in the market, which has historically caused a spike in revenue as people are more susceptible amid FOMO and “market exuberance.”

According to Chainalysis, the fall is largely driven by the disappearance of two prominent investment-type scams — VidiLook and Chia Tai Tianqing Pharmaceutical Financial Management.

Both seem to have “exit scammed” and made off with the entirety of user deposits.

The firm said that usually, these scams are immediately replaced, but that has not been the case so far due to the industry and law enforcement becoming more vigilant.

However, the data indicates a 49% annual rise in impersonation scams, suggesting a growing vulnerability among people to fall victim to these types of scams.

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