This section outlines the salient points from this paper. While it’s my hope you’ll read this paper in its entirety, as I couldn’t possibly cover every important point this paper makes, this section attempts to offer a summary:
Travelex, who provided international payments, foreign currency exchange, and prepaid credit cards for use by travelers and global remittance, filed for bankruptcy in JAN after paying a $2.3 in ransom to Sodinokibi (Revil) after it had locked and leaked a significant portion of its data. (SC Magazine, 2020)
American Bank Systems (ABS), a service provider to US banks and financial institutions suffered a ransomware attack in November with some of its clients’ data leaked in a 53GB dump. (Class Action, 2020)
Ransomware, which rakes in a cool $1 Billion per year for its operators, claims a new victim every 11 seconds. (Cybersecurity Ventures, 2017) § Whereas commodity ransomware is employed opportunistically and traditionally got delivered in a “spray and pray” model, operators are now creating targeted ransomware built specifically for financial services and fintech companies who’ve recently proven ready to pay out ransoms to get their data back.
Financial services now represents the 2nd highest number of Ransomware related breaches across all industries targeted in 2019-2020 (Coveware, 2020)
Cybercrime syndicates involved in profiting from ransomware must also launder their profits. While money is also laundered through more traditional means, such as through legitimate businesses, ransomware operators are now increasingly turning to laundering their money through cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.
Ransomware crime syndicates, much like the mob that the etymology of the word originated from, have grown from unsophisticated, loosely organized groups of just a hand-full of people. They’ve now grown to become large, transnational criminal enterprises raking in revenues in the billions from operating their own ransomware operations to leasing it out in “ransomware-as-a-service.” RaaS affiliate programs adopt a shared revenue model where the operators take a portion of the profits their affiliates generate in a typical 60/40 split (Forbes, 2020).