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Data shows $590m in ransomware payments reported to US in 2021 as attacks surge

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WASHINGTON (AFP) — New data out Friday showed $590 million in ransomware-related payments were reported to US authorities in the first half of 2021, setting a pace to beat totals for the previous decade as cyber-extortion booms.

According to the US Treasury Department report, the figure is 42 percent higher than the amount reported by financial institutions for all of 2020.

“If current trends continue, [reports] filed in 2021 are projected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than (reports) filed in the previous 10 years combined,” Treasury said.

The crime involves breaking into an entity’s networks to encrypt its data, then demanding a ransom, typically paid via cryptocurrency in exchange for the digital key to unlock it.

Washington has sought to crack down on a sharp rise in attacks, including issuing its first sanctions against an online exchange where illicit operators have allegedly swapped cryptocurrency for cash.


© The Times of Israel

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