Ransomware revenue fell in 2022, another impactful year in the fight against ransomware. Ransomware attackers extorted at least $456.8 million from victims in 2022, down from $765.6 million the year before, according to a report by Chainalysis.
According to Wikipedia, Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's personal data or permanently block access to it unless a ransom is paid off. While some simple ransomware may lock the system without damaging any files, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
However, despite the drop in revenue, the number of unique ransomware strains in operation rose in 2022, with research from cybersecurity firm Fortinet stating that over 10,000 unique strains were active in only the first half of 2022.
In a similar pattern, ransomware lifespans continued to drop. In 2022, the average ransomware strain remained active for just 70 days, down from 153 in 2021 and 265 in 2020. The report associated this activity with ransomware attackers’ efforts to obfuscate their activity, as many attackers are working with multiple strains.